Max Lucado, Christian Author

“Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.” 

Genesis 1:26 MSG

 The tragedy in Charlottesville has stirred the rawest of wounds–racism. Judging a person according to skin color is an ancient sin. For that reason, God gave this ancient solution.

In the earliest words of Scripture, God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth” (Genesis 1:26 MSG).

Embedded in these words is the most wonderful of promises: God made us to reflect his image.

No one is a god except in his or her own delusion. But everyone carries some of the communicable attributes of God. Wisdom. Love. Grace. Kindness. A longing for eternity. We are made in his image.

Sin has distorted this image, but it has not destroyed it. Our moral purity has been tainted. Our intellect is polluted by foolish ideas. We have fallen prey to the elixir of self-promotion rather than God-promotion. The image of God is sometimes difficult to discern. But do not think for a moment that God has rescinded his promise or altered his plan. He still creates people in his image to bear his likeness and reflect his glory.

Pop psychology is wrong when it tells you to look inside yourself and find your value. The magazines are wrong when they suggest you are only as good as you are thin, muscular, pimple-free, or perfumed. The movies mislead you when they imply that your value increases as your stamina, intelligence, or net worth does. Religious leaders lie when they urge you to grade your significance according to your church attendance, self-discipline, or spirituality.

According to the Bible you are good simply because God made you in his image. Period. He cherishes you because you bear a semblance to him. And you will only be satisfied when you engage in your role as an image-bearer of God. Such was the view of King David. “As for me, I will see your face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake in your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

How much sadness would evaporate if every person simply chose to believe this: I was made for God’s glory and am being made into his image.

Would you let this truth find its way into your heart? You were conceived by God before you were conceived by your parents. You were loved in heaven before you were known on earth. You are not an accident. You aren’t a random fluke of genetics or evolution. You aren’t defined by the number of pounds you weigh, followers you have, car you drive, or clothes you wear.

You are made in God’s image. Print that on your resume. You are a diamond, a rose, and a jewel, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. In the eyes of God you are worth dying for. Would you let this truth define the way you see yourself?

Would you let this truth define the way you see other people? Every person you see was created by God to bear his image, and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This means that all people deserve to be seen for who they are: image-bearers of God.

Imagine the impact this promise would have upon the society that embraced it. What civility it would engender! What kindness it would foster! Racism will not flourish when people believe their neighbor bears God’s image. The fire of feuds will have no fuel when people believe their adversaries are God’s idea. Will a man abuse a woman? Not if he believes she bears the stamp of God. Will a boss neglect an employee? Not if she believes the employee bears a divine spark. Will society write off the indigent, the mentally ill, the inmate on death row, or the refugee? Not if we believe, truly believe, that every human being is God’s idea. And he has no bad ideas.

Parents and grandparents understand the implications of this truth. I recall when my daughter Jenna was pregnant with our first grandchild. She was round as a ladybug. Long before Jenna gave birth to Rosie, I loved our granddaughter. I’d never seen her, but I loved her. She’d done nothing to earn my love. But I loved her. She’d never brought me coffee, or called me Papa. She’d never sung me a song or danced me a dance. She’d done nothing!

Yet I loved her already.

I would do anything for her. That is not hyperbole.

Why? Why did I love her so? Because she carries some of me. A small part for sure, but a part of me, nonetheless.

Why does God love you with an everlasting love? It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with whose you are. You are his.

How can we respect our neighbors? What is God’s solution to angry racism that gives birth to violence and bloodshed? Government programs might help. Lectures might enlighten. But, in the end, God’s plan is the only plan: see every person on the planet as God’s idea.

And He has no bad ideas.

©MaxLucado, August 2017

39 comments on “God’s Answer for Racism

  1. Thank you Max ! This has been very cleansing to my soul . I thank God for your pure perspective on who He truly is . Once again , you have given me hope for humanity.

  2. I was always taught that “made in His image” meant that we were made with a Spirit. Having a Spirit is what differentiates us from animals. Although animals can think, make choices, and have feelings like us, which we share because we all have a soul, humans were made with a spirit that can only be satisfied with acceptance of Christ our Savior to fill it. When our spirits are filled with His, racism is non existent. We will love the way He loves.

  3. Amen Max, those are the words we need to hear rather than what do we think should happen in this world. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

  4. Thank you! Amen! And a prayer that each of us, through God’s grace will live this out, with His help.

  5. This only applies to believers( Christian’s). 1 Peter 2:17. Show respect for all people[ treat them honorably] , love the brotherhood [ of believers ] , fear God, honor the king.

    This verse demands from believers that we show respect to ‘ all men, other Christian’s, God, and governmental authorities.

    How then can believers really apply these commands if in the body of Christ is so much bickering amongst elders and members over their own pet projects? Church politics and under the table schemes to keep some church members in their place( because others do not feel comfortable around certain members of the church) is the norm. One of the cruelest groups that hurts others deliberately is the church. A church has its own clicks that do are not led by Anything that is remotely biblical. Even the music worship leadership hires only musicians that play what they enjoy. I have yet to see a blend of music in worship that represents or try’s to represent all races. But they don’t. If the leadership in worship loves country music every new hire is hired based on that leaders inclinations. I have yet to see in a service an integrated service of African American music, country, contemporary , Spanish etc. Instead we have separate services and we are right back to segregation. The whites with the whites, Mexicans with the Mexicans, African Americans with African Americans. Each with their own worship service hence segregation. Racism should end at church and segregation should also end at church.

    1. Of course, churches are made of people. People are not perfect, they sin – they make mistakes and hurt each other. I know it is frustrating, but just because someone is a Christian, doesn’t mean they are going to be perfect. That’s why I’m at church, cause I need regular reminding how to be better.

    2. Jed, I hear you. We can be fractured in the church can’t we? We bring our life experience with us and for the leader of worship if the only experience is with one culture his or her songs, circle of friends, worship tradition will reflect it. And change is hard. Until leaders are ready to follow Jesus example and throw away being comfortable Sunday worship will remain the most segregated time of the week. My opinion of course. So you pray for me and I will pray for you. Blessings, Joyce

      1. Joyce thank you for the encouragement and for your honesty. Myron I also want to thank you for your honesty. Mary I thank you for heart felt invitation and I pray that God open doors for all who want to experience Godly diversity and love in any church that offers it. I will be praying for all of you as well.

        In regards to the worn out phrase “following” Jesus I will add this to its diluted meaning. If one is called to follow Jesus-where are we to follow him to?It would like to think that Jesus is really asking that we follow him to the Cross, and that we place ourselves on it(the cross) voluntarily just as he did for us. We are to crucify self so that Jesus can work through us without any resistance from self. However, for some strange sick reason the action of following has been romanticized. I hear often, ” I will follow Jesus to the mission field, etc., ” but Jesus did not ask for co-pilots, a navigator, etc., he asked that one follow him but follow him to the cross. I once heard a story of a mechanic that was asked by the cars owner -how much less- would he charge if he helped with the repairs? The mechanic gave it some thought and replied, I would charge you more, because you would just be getting in my way. So when Jesus asks to follow him what he really means is that you carry your cross, just like he did, and place yourself on it. In short he is saying, your just getting in the way! So remember Kiddos if you are going to follow Jesus the path that he wants you to take is to the place where you will finally erect your cross with you on it.

        1. Jed, If what you write is accurate, is Jesus teaching that we are to follow Jesus to the resurrection as well?…

          1. Myron again I thank you for your contribution to these Godly discussions. I will try to answer your question to the best of my ability.

            Lets go back to the cross. During Christ earthly ministry(the 1st century)the cross had no symbolic meaning connected with it. The cross did not symbolize a burden. Many assume today that the cross symbolizes a bad relationship, physical illness, thankless job. Self-pity takes over and you will hear these words, ” That`s my cross, and I have to carry it”. However, during the 1st century the cross had only one meaning associated with it. The cross meant that whomever the cross was assigned too that individual was going to die. In short the cross during Christs earthly ministry meant only one thing. Death.

            So what did Jesus say? Matthew 16:24, “Take up your cross and follow me”. An individual during the 1st century would have understood Christ words too mean -follow him to the Crucifixion, death. So “take up your cross and follow me” implies that one should be willing to die in order to follow Jesus. This is death is called ,” Dying to self” it is an absolute. It is an absolute surrender.

            Further on we shall go-deeper.
            Galatians 2:20(amplified bible). I have been crucified with Christ[ that is, in him I have shared his crucifixion] ; it is no longer I who live,but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith[adhering to,relying on, and completely trusting] in the son of God,who loved me and gave himself up for me.

            Paul wrote this in a letter to the Galatians. Paul stated that he had been, ” crucified with Christ” and as a result, Paul no longer lived.

            So when we are crucified with Christ our self-promotion,self-reliance, self-pleasing desires, and self-recognition along with many other selfish sinful needs are crucified with Christ on the cross. If you think about it all sins has it roots in wanting to please self. So before salvation can begin to bear any fruit-self has to be crucified with Christ. It is a never ending process because sin still resides in our flesh and is still very much alive. Read Pauls issue with self, and sin in Romans 7: 18-25.
            When we surrender our own control to the will and power of the Holy spirit that is when crucified with Christ can begin.
            We are sanctified only when we die with Christ to sin.

            Myron-you asked are we to follow Jesus to the resurrection as well?
            It is only when we are crucified with with Christ that a quickening of the Holy spirit within man activates a new spiritual life in man as that individual is born again in Christ. As self is crucified with Christ we are resurrected into a new life in (hidden)in Christ with resurrection power.

            Read this verse from Paul and do some research on it. Pay attention to the sentence that mentions the power of his resurrection.
            Philippians 3:10-11Amplified Bible (AMP)

            10 And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; 11 [a]so that I may attain to the resurrection [that will raise me] from the dead.

            Myron I thank you and God bless.

    3. Yes Jed vasques, I agree with the spirit of much of what you write… but what about women, are they not also in the image of Him/ or the brotherhood?

      In addition, what do you mean by “respect”? …
      Or “honour the king” (do you mean elected officials in a democracy like President Donald Trump, or in my country Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

      I notice you have added some editing of what many consider needs no editing. While Biblical writers may have been inspired by “God” you seem to agree with my perspective there is room for discernment, eh?

      Finally for me “God” is not much more beyond our imagination as our mere human being understanding than the Bible….do I mean the Protestant Bible and/or the Catholic Bible and’or Holy Scripture
      In conclusion, did Jesus not say (According to three Gospels writers (Matthew, Luke and Mark) that the greatest commandment is to love God. Maybe Peter is this verse is recorded as writing fear “God”, but did not three other writers record that Jesus said (that Jesus said) love God is the greatest commandment, and to love your brother..

      1. I was rushed when writing the last two paragraphs, and am no longer clear what I was trying to write…
        In summary perhaps is not the word “God” a metaphor for something much “larger” than ourselves and/or creation?

    4. That because God gave the freedom of chose to make our own was good or bad we are still made in his image now if we stray form that then we mare the loser. Not everybody in this world believed, But We are still made in God image.

    5. Please come visit us Sunday at 10.30 am. Community Christian Church 5030 Hamburg Pike Jeffersonville, Indiana. Every Sunday, we have a mixture of music. Having attended churches all over the U.S., I have also been in other churches which do the same. I agree that not all churches are welcoming to new people.

  6. Always always always, you speak God’s Truth to us.
    Thank you dear Max.
    You are a gift God has given my husband and me.
    and I am always grateful that it seems you have a book that comes out in September!! That is our birthday month and Its always the gift I give my husband.
    Thanks for making my life easier on gifts after 41 years of marriage.
    Thank you for allowing us the privilege of hearing your words.

  7. Thank you, Max Lucado. God always provides you with truth to share with all. You always know just what needs to be said and present it in a way for all peoples to understand and embrace. Praise the Lord and praying many will read, share. And, through love and understanding, we the people of all races, ethnicities and religious beliefs will overcome this hatred and racism and come together with love and compassion as a stronger united America.

  8. Dear Max,
    This brings me to tears. My soul needed this today.
    To be reminded that we are all image bearers, the Imago Dei, this is the truth for our country, our world, this day. Only you could bring us such beautiful words, sorely needed.
    And yes, grand parenting is another beautiful metaphor for Gods love, huh?
    Patti Bauman Widener
    ( old friend from St Louis days gone by)

  9. I thank God for your Spirit filled wisdom and compassion in these troubling times. So important. I will remember this in every encounter.

  10. Thank you so much for writing this! My heart has been crushed,for so many reasons,and I cry through prayer because it’s all I feel I can do. And this is what I plant in my mind and in my heart…
    When I’m weak, I’m strong because God’s Grace is all I need!
    To accept Grace is to accept the vow to give it!

  11. Thank you. Sometimes it’s hard to see even the haters as made in His image but that is what we must do. So what do we do with that?
    It probably depends on what our individual needs are but one thing is certain, scripture and the teachings of Jesus can guide us if we have the courage to let it do so.

  12. Thank you for the uplifting and encouraging words of truth . You are such an inspiration to so many . My children grew up on the Hermie DVDs and I have to admit I still love to watch them . We need to keep teaching our children unconditional love and to reach out to others . There are so many suffering at the hands of others . God Bless you and your family ❤️

  13. I so needed to read this, my heart has been breaking over what is happening. I have been searching for more than a voice of reason your words are comforting. You articulated what many of us believe and know, but needed to hear it or read it. Thank you Max Lucado

  14. Thank you Pastor Lucado for these words desperately needed at this time. Thank you for bringing the lense back in focus.

  15. Thanks so much Max Lucado for these beautiful words of wisdom. My husband and I moved here from Missouri, and so blessed to be a part of Oak Hills Church. What a blessing and impact you have made on our lives. God bless you!

  16. I totally agree with everything you said and I will pray that God too helps me to see everyone in that way as image bearers of God, because I’d love to be just like that myself, so blessed to hear to these words today!!!

  17. So that’s why Jesus told us the greatest commandment of all is to love God with all your heart, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as our self.

  18. So that’s why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul, and to love our neighbor as our self.

  19. I live in a beach community outside of San Diego which is very diverse but I grew up in East Texas. Going home to East Texas is heartbreaking because my hometown (pop. 90,000) is still racially divided. The church I grew up in is one of the few that is truly diverse but that is mostly due to forced circumstances within the denomination. Over the years the Lord has created a lot of love out of those circumstances but only after a lot of hate & turmoil. (Yes, I said hate, because it was true racism in the beginning.) My hometown, to this day, is filled with churches that are either predominantly caucasian, predominantly African-American or predominantly hispanic. If our Christians cannot let go of racism and worship together, how can we lead the rest of the country? Could this be why we are where we are at today in Washington D.C.?

    P.S. Thank you Jed for your perspective. We have a church near San Diego that alternates styles of music each Sunday.

    1. Casandra I want to thank you for your honesty and for your story. And I agree with you that the church should be a place where all believers find freedom not only in Christ but with each other. The issues of racism, bigotry, discrimination, prejudice in the church are real. I sometimes wonder if this church environment is a litmus test that reflects on how our society is infecting the church. The church is now a reflection of its racist, bigoted, prejudiced, discriminatory, secular society. The church is slowly but surely not reflecting Christ. When I see the fighting, killing , over racial issues that our nation is experiencing it makes me wonder where is that beacon of Gods light the church? The leaders, pastors of these churches need to take the initiative and deliberately make the changes needed at their church. Yes it is painful, it does create tension but if God is made the head and not the tail the church will go forward with Gods favor. Our secular society is swamped with hurts that are a result of racism, bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice. the church should be a place where none of these are practiced or enforced. In short, our nation and its attitudes are a direct result of the condition of our church. Change the attitudes, beliefs of the church to reflect Christ in all his glory then the nation will find its way to recognizing the church as Gods beacon of light through Christ. Then and only then will our nations issues change. Thank you

  20. RE: “According to the Bible you are good simply because God made you in his image.” ¶ 7

    I haven’t found that verse. I found the verse where the earth brought forth grass,, herbs, and trees; God saw that was good. These were not made in his image, yet they were still seen and judged as good.
    The two things I can take away from Genesis 1:26,27—the verses that first say we are made in His image—are that this quality confers (a) the authority to rule over fish, birds, and livestock, and (b) the mandates to procreate and be fruitful.

    It would be easier to find verses that say fallen man is not good.

    Previously, in paragraph 6, the words value, net worth, and significance were used as if we should expect them to be synonymous with “good.” They are not.

    Without getting bogged down in a Hebrew word study of the differences between “in our image” and “after our likeness,” I guess one could logically reason that if God is good, something made in His image and likeness must also be good…

    …but in regard to the topic of racism, rather than “good simply because God made you in his image,” I would posit that the more important likeness of God’s image is man’s ability to be fruitful.

    Racism attacks man’s ability to be productive. It steals the joy that could be celebrated in, not differences, but variations. It interferes with reciprocating love. It misdirects ruling authority by devaluing humans to animals. These are the God-Images that racism disrupts.

  21. Thank you, Max. I await your Up-Words in my e-mail each morning. Somehow, it seems that your words speak to my heart every day with a message that I need. This message should be read aloud in EVERY church in the country this Sunday to remind us just whose we ALL are.

  22. Max a tua palavra é sempre preciosa.
    Nosso Deus é tremendamente amoroso para nós deixar sem alternativas… Mas enquanto houver uma pessoa que não ame a Ele veremos a maldade expressa.

  23. Thank you Max. I needed to hear your words this week. You always give me hope for the world.

  24. Thanks again for reminding us of God’s will. I especially liked your example of a grandparent. This is something to which I can really relate. I loved my grandchildren even before they were born and I expect most grandparents can relate to that also. If we can break loose from our own world, we see how much God loves everyone. Period.

  25. Max, “Let us create man in our image.” Who is us?
    Racism has been around prior to this event, the U.S. media proclaims it to be worse now. When will the race baiters want to remove the monuments from The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park?
    I am an ignorant sinner, so I must inquire, does God want us to tear down the monuments there as well.

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