All of us that attend church have often heard Biblical teaching that mankind was “created in the image of God”. Although that phrase is frequently spoken, I am not sure that any one of us ponders what that truly means. Perhaps, we see so much evil and sorrow in the world because the “image” of God has been marred by sin that mankind finds it hard to see “God’s image” around us.
Maybe that is more common in daily life than we like to admit regarding how parents are treated. In comparing how some teens treat their earthly fathers, it is a painful parallel to how sinful man fails to respond in revering God. Likely, when we were children, some adult would see us and state, “You look just like your daddy”. However, when we were disobedient or our attitude was really bad, our parents might tell us that we are not acting like they taught and expected us to act. Although we might “bear the image”, our behavior did not validate the relationship. We had the “name” of our father since we were part of the family, but at those moments when we were so selfish, so angry, or so disrespectful….we surely did not honor the family name.
We can attribute that to our sin nature. However, there is a much more prevalent reason. I fear it is that we (when we are young) do not cherish the privilege of our family. Children feel entitled, “special”, and truly deserving of good things that parents do. Because of the safe environment of the home provided, the love of our parents, the encouragement that they give in every activity of their children, the food that is “ever present”, the bed that is warm and comfortable, and all of the benefits of being cared for as a “dependent”, we take for granted the great and abundant blessing given to us by our dad and mom.
If that spirit is not “checked”, children can begin to have little regard for parents. We might hear teens say things like, “My old man said…” or “my stupid parents want me to.” When that happens, the one bearing the image of the father has lost sight of the value of the “original”. Rather than having love and great reverence for one’s father and mother, the parents are seen and treated as common, simple, “out of step”, nagging, and worthless. How tragic! It is truly sad when that is done to an earthly parent and sadder still when it is one’s attitude toward our Heavenly Father.
“Oliver Chanler of Geneseo, NY explained why no one had ever cleaned a portrait of George Washington that hung in his parents’ home. ‘Suspect that’s because no one thought it was of great value.’ The family had always supposed the portrait was a common copy. Appraisers declared it an original Gilbert Stuart portrait worth around $300,000. It eventually sold at auction for $925,000. We treat those things of great value with more care than things we consider common. —Jim L. Wilson and Rodger Russell.