Image Bearers

When I was a little girl, my grandmother owned and operated a beauty shop in Oneonta, Alabama. It was called, “Glamour Beauty Shop”. I loved to go to her shop and spin around in the chairs and play with her rollers and brushes. Ladies would come in and out of the shop, and if they knew my grandmother, almost without fail, would ask of me, “Is that Jean’s daughter?” They would be referring to my aunt. My grandmother would say, “Oh no, that’s Tommy’s girl.” And they would say, “Well, she looks like her aunt!”

I didn’t get it. I knew my aunt. I didn’t look anything like her. She was old. At the time, she was younger than I am now. Shame on my little self!

In time, I took the remarks in stride, and went on about my business of chair spinning. When your grandmother owns the store you can do what you want to do.

One day, after a long day at the shop, I went home with my grandmother to her house and she called me into her bedroom. She was holding a little school picture. She handed it to me, and asked me who I thought was in the picture. I took the picture and looked at it. I was looking at a picture of me. Only it wasn’t me, exactly. The hairstyle was different than mine, and I didn’t own a pink shirt with a Peter Pan collar. It was a picture of my aunt at my age.

Finally, I fully understood why all those ladies at the shop had thought I was my aunt’s daughter. I did look just like her! In all honesty, it was more than a little disturbing.

All those women could clearly see my aunt in my face because I bore her image. I looked like her. So much so, that they assumed I had to belong to her.

We are image bearers of God. In Genesis, when God creates man, he does so in His own image. In Colossians, Paul refers to Christ followers in Colossians 3:9-10 as image bearers of Christ.

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.”

As I have grown older, I don’t look as much like my aunt as I once did. Her image has faded from my face. As followers of Christ, we bear his image, and we are to be constantly striving for that image to grow stronger, and for that image to become clearer to those around us. As human beings, everyone is an image bearer of God. As believers in Christ, we are to bear testimony to what he has done for us and in us. We are to reflect the savior.

We may not be the only Bible someone ever reads, but we might very well be the first one they read. Let us show his love, demonstrate his grace, and extend his mercy. May it never come as a surprise that they see Jesus when they look at us. May we act in such a way that it comes as no surprise that we belong to him.

So what do you think?

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