There are definitely times when I don’t like shopping, but probably not for the reason you may think. I actually grew up shopping. When my family fled Cuba with little but the clothes on our backs, I spent a lot of time shopping with my Mom for the things we needed. I remember being dropped off at the toy department to play with the toys there while Mom (and sometimes Dad) would finish shopping. It was a different time then! Shopping itself doesn’t bother me. No, the reason I don’t like shopping is because of the people out there. To quote a famous movie line, “I see dead people” – spiritually dead people and it saddens me. Let me explain.
Remember at the beginning of the book of Genesis, it says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” (Gen1:6)
What an astonishing statement! Of all of the stuff God created, rocks, trees, plants, stars or kittens, He said that only man is made in His image. We were specifically and deliberately designed to reflect the character of God and carry His likeness among all creation. It doesn’t mean we are “little gods,” but that we strike a remarkable resemblance to Him in many aspects of His being. To me it means that there is a dignity and nobleness to men and women as bearers of the image of God unlike any other creature in the universe. It is awe-inspiring and humbling. And even though that image has been marred, sometimes disfigured, by sin, we still retain that Image.
Later in Genesis, after Noah left the ark, God said to him, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Gen 9:6)
Why was it wrong to murder? Because it destroyed the image of God! God was really serious about His creation. Even after sin, after the destroying mankind in the flood, God still made it a point to remind Noah that we still carried within us the Image. Don’t mess with that.
Jesus made it even more serious. He took it up a notch in the Sermon on the Mount when He said,
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (Mat 5:21-22 NLT)
Whoa, that is pretty serious; calling someone an idiot is likened to murder? Yes because it directly assaults the image of God resident within each of us.
So back to shopping. As I walk around the shopping mall or big box discount store, I see people who are spiritually dead. I see the Image of God parading through the store encrusted by sin and I am heartbroken. I see broken bodies, dehydrated spirits, damaged people lost to the possibilities of a renewed life with God. I see this and I pray silently, “Oh Lord, won’t you come and restore the glory of your Image in all people. How long, Oh Lord, how long will you wait?” And I wish I could do more. I understand that each person I see should be, must be, treated with dignity and respect as God’s image-bearer not matter how defaced the Image has become, but also that every one of those people needs Christ.
So let us check our hearts and not disparage others, but let our spirits fly to the throne room and appeal to the Image-Maker to scrub clean the Image and reveal the splendor of His creation.