As I prepared to speak at a human trafficking conference last weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the power of healthy relationships. I began to ask myself, “Do I view every single person that I encounter as a fellow image-bearer of God, as somebody worthy of dignity, honor and respect?”
It is possible for potential trafficking victims to repel the lies of traffickers when they are protected by the strong fortress of healthy, wholesome relationships.
In Genesis 1:27, we read that “God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Unlike every other part of creation, mankind occupies a special place, a place of likeness to God. This concept is referred to in Latin as the “Imago Dei.” As humans, we are created in the “Image of God.”
God doesn’t “rack and stack” people. He doesn’t value some people more than others. He loves everyone completely and perfectly. I try to remember every day that:
Every. Single. Person. Matters.
Whether I am encountering someone at the store, at work or at school, I need to engage with them as a fellow image-bearer of God, and give them the honor and dignity that they deserve. I am called to spend time investing in the people that God has placed on my path and to share the hope of Jesus Christ with them!
One recent example of this is the way that the Hollern family invested in a girl who faced a devastating medical diagnosis. God placed her in their path, and they sacrificially served her and her family for more than two years. They cared for her at great personal expense, both in terms of finances and time. It is an inspirational example of serving whomever God places in your path.
As Mark Ross writes, “The whole of human ethics is grounded in the imago Dei. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church. Fathers must discipline and instruct their children as the Lord does His children. The comforting love of a mother is the image and likeness of the comforting love of God. Earthly masters should reflect the justice and fairness found in the heavenly Master. Though sin has greatly defaced God’s image in us, by God’s grace in Christ that image is renewed. Living by that grace, people see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven. When our restoration is complete, we shall forever live in the presence of God, clothed with His glory having truly become His ‘kind’ of people.” (ligonier.org/imago-dei).
There is a native dignity and beauty in every human being. We are all created in the image of God, and He calls us to different places, at different times, for different purposes. Who has God placed in your path this week? How will you treat them differently because you recognize God’s likeness in them?