Have you ever noticed how much kids reflect their parents in word, deed, and of course looks? I have four girls, and each one looks like they have been brought forth from the same factory (and they have). Their appearance marks them when they stand next to me and my wife. They are Taylor girls, and I couldn’t deny them, even if I wanted to. Their personalities are very different.
The oldest is a people pleaser, but she is quiet, and likes to have time to herself occasionally. The second is tough. She likes to wrestle and is good at sports. But, she has the most compassionate heart I’ve ever seen in a child. My third child marches to her own drum completely. She makes us laugh so hard sometimes, but I’m not sure she really means to. My fourth girl is sweet and kind, but she is so young we aren’t quite sure who she is more like yet, me or my wife. She is already her momma’s girl, but she has said “Dadda” a week ago, and she is just now turning 6 months old.
But sometimes my children’s reflection of me scares me a little. I see my temper in them. I see the way they treat their sisters, and wonder if that isn’t how they view my parenting and way of relating to people. We are all products of people gone before us. We were made in an image, and we reflect that image, whether we want to or not, at least to some degree. I have a friend who had it rough growing up as a kid. His grandparents raised him, but when he started high school his grandfather died, and his grandmother was put into a home. He went to live with a mother he never knew — and it was the hardest four years of his life. He wasn’t happy, and he vowed to never turn out like his folks, or to treat his children like he was treated. But old habits die hard. So how do we break away from the hurtful things that have been buried deep within us at such a young age?
The Bible teaches that from the very beginning man was made in the image of God. But because of sin we marred that image. We stained that image, and we all but covered it up with pride, greed, lust, lies, deception, violence, and wrath. We began to look like something else, something we were never intended to be. We became separated from God. I grew up with both my parents, and so I don’t really know what it would be like to be separated from them. But I do know what it’s like to be separated from God. It’s a hard thing, a lonely thing, an emptiness that nothing is able to fill. It’s dark, and with each sin we are cast further and further into the dark, until we don’t know up from down or right from wrong. When I was separated from God all I remember is that feeling of the weight of all my sin. How heavy it was! I carried it all alone with no one to lift a finger for me.
But there came time in my life when someone told me what I was really made for: that I was made in the image of Christ. I couldn’t see it. But then one evening when I was alone in my room the light shone so bright inside my soul. It cut through all of the doubts, and the darkness of my mind, and I realized for the very first time that I belonged to God. He wanted to wash my sin away, and clear up all of the dark things that weren’t really me anyway. He cleansed me down to depths of my soul — and in that new clean soul, I could see again His reflection in my mirrored heart. So how do we break from the things buried deep within us? Well, we recognize there is something buried even deeper within each of us. It is a cry, a longing, a truth that we can’t escape. We all were made to reflect His Glory. We cannot escape it. Just as my children will always look like their mother and father so too, each of us, were intended to reflect our Creator, our Heavenly Father.
Christ is the exact representation of God made flesh, and we, as Christians, have been given of His Spirit to reside in us, to break the curse of generational sin, and any sin for that matter. And as we live, move, and reflect Christ’s image in this world we come to understand even more who we really are: Sons and Daughters of the Living God. May we embrace this truth with all our hearts.
Brian Taylor is pastor of Forest Avenue Baptist Church in Sherman.