College graduate. Dean's List recipient. Mother. High school graduate. Newly commissioned military serviceman. This time of year, we are keenly aware of the labels surrounding us. College students celebrate the end of the semester and their new title of sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate. Those intending to go active in the Army partake in commissioning ceremonies. We shower our female birth-givers with love and affection on Mother's Day. We celebrate our own new titles and those of others, but when all is said and done, there is only one epithet that truly matters: Child of God.
Last week, I was reading Matthew Kelly's "Rediscover Jesus," and the chapter title, "Do Not Judge," particularly stuck with me, because judgement of others is one of my greatest stumbling blocks in my personal walk with Christ. The statement that resonated with me the most was, "Whenever you are temped to judge someone, turn your attention to seeing that person as a child of God."
For the last few days since I read the chapter, I've been really focusing on that. Every time I've had a judgmental thought about someone, I've stopped myself and replaced whatever label I've slapped them with with "child of God." Whether it's been someone making annoying posts on social media, a family member who's frustrated me, a too-slow fast food employee, a random person who may have accidentally bumped into me, or anything else in between, it has been incredibly eye-opening to attempt to see people in the way Jesus saw them.
And it's been very therapeutic to see myself that way, too -- I'm a college student with a GPA I'm not proud of, but I'm also an intern at a law office. I have a lot of titles I could give myself, but at the end of the day, I'm a child of God.
What exactly does this mean?
I finished reading C.S. Lewis,' "Mere Christianity," last week, and it was a refreshing, yet convicting narrative of what it truly means to be a Christian. There are a lot of different spins you can place on the phrase, "child of God," and none of them are necessarily incorrect, but Lewis' closing words certainly helped me put it into perspective:
"You will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self."
Being a child of God means that we were created in His image, and are put here to carry out some divine purpose in order to further His Kingdom.
Whether we provide people with negative labels like "stingy" or "too much" or more positive labels like "graduate" or "mothers," at the end of the day we have to remind ourselves that, regardless of the small details of who we are and what makes us "us," we were created with great care by a God who cares enough to account for even the hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). Regardless of our differences, regardless of what makes humans judge us or value us more than others, we are all the same in the eyes of God.