Dichotomy (Will Hignett)

A dichotomy confronts Christians. We are made in God’s image and are "made a little lower than God", yet at the same time, we are the dust of the earth. We are capable of great things. With God’s grace, we can assist in building God’s kingdom and bring love into our daily lives in significant ways. But as we get older, we are reminded that we are dust and so easily fail ourselves and fail others. We are often preoccupied with our desires.

So which one are we? The creation and beloved of God, or are we dust scattered by the wind?

When a question is asked like the above the answer is usually both “a” and “b”, and of course we are both. Consider the comments from Rev. Laura Ziehl from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in California on this contradiction: “Perhaps to be made in the image of God means, not that we look like God or act like God, but that we carry God's grace in our bones both as forgiven sinners and stewards of a mystery. Perhaps, both in our worst failure and in our greatest joy, we are simply the bearers of God's grace.”
What does it mean to be a bearer of God’s grace? Grace bearers are marked by behaviors and attitudes that definitely stand out in our graceless world. The marks of a grace bearer are: strong love, generous forgiveness, and sharing.

God uses our strong love of the significant people in our lives to break through our sometimes hard hearts. As God’s grace permeates out hearts, our love for others flows. Authentic love for others is a sign that we understand God’s grace for us.
Generous forgiveness is an indicator that grace is in us and flowing to others. Jesus said he expects his followers to extend forgiveness in the same fashion as he extends forgiveness to us. When we forgive we bring to light the presence of a God who brings grace to those who do not deserve it. Every time we choose to forgive someone who has wronged us we unleash the very grace that saves us.

Sharing is a third sign that grace has a real presence in our lives. Sharing presents the grace of Christ and releases it by our taking what we have in our open hands and holding it out for others to share.

We are both made in the image of God and we are the dust of the earth, but being a grace bearer brings us closer to the first concept and moves us further away from being just dust in the wind.

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