Broken Eikons, Being Made New
We are made in God’s image.
As eikons of God our role in this world is to point others to what God is like.
This is our role in this world individually.
This is our role in this world communally.
“That’s community, a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.” ? – Henri Nouwen
One thing I think is important to get in this is the individual and unique nature of you being an image.
One of the truths that has changed my life more than anything in recent years is for me to understand that who I am and have been created to be is good. In fact, its very good. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to be comfortable in my own skin, in my own shoes.
But here’s the thing. Here’s the kicker.
I’m broken. Despite all the beautiful ways that God has made me, made you, we’re broken. Our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses. Our greatest efforts sometimes totally flop.
As I briefly touched on last week, this image is broken. And make no bones about it, this is the result of sin.
You are broken. I am broken. We all are broken.
Hi, my name is Todd and I’m broken.
Or as the current lingo goes, we’re borked.
But I think it’s important to know that our own personal brokenness is not the bottom issue.
We live in a broken world. The entire cosmos is cracked, and we are part of it.
Sometimes, we talk about sin from only a personal perspective.
All I learned about in regards to sin growing up (at least, all I heard) was that I was a sinner.
I lie. I steal. I covet. I break one of the 10 commandments. Maybe a few at one time if I’m having a bad day.
But this isn’t the deepest level of the nature of sin.
The full reality of sin that goes a few layers deeper.
Sin is not only personal, but cosmological in its nature.
It’s not just you and me that is broken.
It’s the entire created order.
You can try and argue with me.
But look around…
We see the evidence in the newspapers.
If we don’t read the newspapers we the evidence on the news.coms
Heck, we even see the evidence on facebook.
We see it in the church.
Sin is global in scale and doesn’t discriminate.
Our world is broken.
I believe that as we seek to understand the nature of our own sin, we need to be sure to frame the conversation in the midst of the brokenness of our larger world and it’s need to find healing.
Now, if we have a broken world, we have a broken humankind.
And, if we have a humankind, we have our own broken souls.
And our own broken souls need, along with the rest of creation, to find healing.
In the same way that I don’t think I need to convince you that this world is broken, I don’t think I need to work really hard to convince you that you are broken.
?Most of us feel it every day in some way or another.
Sometimes it’s subtle. Other times it’s deeply intense.
Others of us have done a great job of numbing ourselves to it.
No matter what, we know that we don’t “work” the way we were meant to.
Sin has had its effects on us and sin continues to have its effects on us.
Our own personal sin has done its damage.
We knowingly walk down roads that we just shouldn’t go.
We continue to make decisions that we shouldn’t make.
We don’t go places we know that we should..
And it breaks us a bit more and more each time.
We carry the shame from this stuff around like 500 pound weights on our legs.
It desperately handicaps us from being able to live out our calling and to give the world a unique picture of the Triune God.
We usually refer to these things as the skeletons in our closets.
Perhaps for some of us they aren’t in the closet, and they are out there for all to see.
Either way, we carry around the shame and effects of this sin.
Sin has also been done to us and it’s also long taken its toll. This sin is often the harshest because its just not our fault.
Often this kind of experience takes the form of a careless (or worse, intentional!) word or action by someone else.
I remember when I was in high school, my youth pastor jokingly called me the black sheep of my family. For the next four years I lived scared to death that I would be the one of the three brothers that fell off the deep end and brought disgrace to the family.
So here we are.
We were created in God’s image.
Our primary calling in life is to represent God here in this world.
And sin makes this sometimes close to impossible.
So much so, that sometimes we just consider giving up this vocation and give our lives to something else.
Perhaps we have already given our lives to something else.
Maybe not intentionally. Maybe we’ve masked our calling for something that seems pretty good but it’s not as good as our full calling.
Maybe we’ve subtly moved from a vocation of representing God to others to a life of managing our own reputation and our own image.
Maybe we’ve subtly given up on ever having hope of really living as we were meant to live.
Maybe the idea that we can actually be unique representations of God is beyond us. Not possible.
Maybe the idea that we can be unique representations of God in this world is something that doesn’t even excite us anymore.
You’ve heard it said…
You aren’t good enough.
No matter what you do you will always be this way.
The deficiencies you have will never let you amount to anything.
The wounds that have been given to you by others will never be healed.
Your situational circumstances are beyond redemption.
You will never really amount to anything.
But I tell you…
We confess together the Jesus died.
?That this death had significance.
That it actually did something.
We also confess together that Jesus rose from the dead.
That this rising from the dead had significance.
That it actually did something.
And mysteriously, in Jesus lies the power of a new hope that we are not stuck here.
II Corinthians 3:17-18
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.