Wednesday, May 07, 2008

His Image, Our Value

Not long after my son was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome and we began to wrestle through all of his disabilities, we found ourselves at a social gathering for families with special needs kids. There was much good in this gathering, but I left deeply troubled. In every conversation I kept hearing some form of one of the worst of the Devil’s lies. That lie suggests that worth is determined by contribution. Therefore, in order to justify a person’s existence, you must be able to demonstrate some way in which they contribute to society.

Looking for ways that people with special needs contribute to the world can be a fine exercise, but when it becomes the justification for their existence, we have bought the utilitarian tale. The Truth, according to God, is that people are valuable for the simple fact that they are made in His image. Value is all in relation to Him, not my supposed contribution.

This is gloriously freeing! I do not have to justify the existence of my disabled son (or my “abled” daughters and wife or even me!) to anyone – our value, your value is that you were made in God’s image.

So, I was glad to read this little paragraph today in Stephanie Hubach’s book. Same Lake, Different Boat:

Consider it this way: the image of God within each indi­vidual can be likened to a mirror that reflects God’s glory, in part, to others. Unmarred at creation, what an incredible and awesome reflection that must have been! In a world now impacted by the fall, each person’s mirror is cracked, yet all the pieces still remain. Consequently, the looking glass reflects a distorted view of God’s glory—but it remains a partial mirror of him just the same. Our struggle enters in because we find it so much easier to identify the cracks in the mirror, and so we miss the image entirely. It takes a conscious effort for us to concentrate on the most fundamental blessing of creation—that we are all created in the image of God—and to gaze speechlessly at his goodness, truth, and beauty in oth­ers. Yet lives are radically transformed—ours and those around us—when we intentionally choose to focus on the image of God within.