It is not unusual to find people whose image of God is as a harsh and mean God. Perhaps it is the hurt that has happened in their lives, the experiences of deep and tragic losses,were the type of abuse and experiences that lead to deep shame. Such persons can also find those who profess to believe who only serve to deepen this difficult image of God.
What is our image of God? In answering this question, there are a few assumptions we can make. Since we are made in God’s image and likeness, then there has to be something in us, we are at our best, that teaches us something about God. But what does it mean for us to be at our best? Is it when we are harsh, rigid, seeing the world only in black and white ways, an image of God who is a judge? Is it when we believe that “anything goes”, that there are simply no reasons for God to get mad at us, the image of God as a teddy bear?
Both extremes would be unfortunate and wrong. We believe that God has deep and abiding love for his people. More than anything else, God desires us to be at our best, reflecting the love that calls us to greatness. At the same time, the mention of sin and forgiveness in today’s readings reminds us that not everything goes. There is right and wrong.