August 16, 2017
You Are Special!
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
This week’s title can be interpreted in unhealthy ways. First, I could think, “If I am special, I am beyond criticism or correction. I am to be catered to.” That is the response of immature people of any age. Secondly, one’s inflated ego might boast, “I can do and be anything I want.” That vain view lacks the wisdom of knowing that we are born with some gifts to do certain things well, but not all gifts. We are not so special that we can live independent of others or of God’s constant care and guidance.
On the positive side, that we are special is a much-needed antidote to the prevailing social disease of groupthink and identity politics. Society likes to invent categories of people by age, race, gender, and political party. By doing so it reduces us to a set of expectations about how we are to act or vote. Marketing experts and politicos use groupthink to steer us to their way of thinking or product, but it tempts us not to see ourselves as individuals with our own set of opinions and values. We project upon one another stereotypes that hide the uniqueness of the individual. Consequently, we don’t really know people, and that makes it hard to love them as they need to be loved. This is true not only in broad circles of society but also in the intimacy of marriage.
This is especially dangerous to our salvation when we fail to see how special God Himself is. It is the height of hubris for us mortals to subject the Immortal to categories limited by our own small minds. The result is that we make Him to be what our experience or desire interpret Him to be: loving, but not challenging; or judgmental, but not merciful; or any shades in between. Our source of revelation concerning God’s character is God Himself. Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah he declares, “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?” (23:23) In Christ’s death and resurrection, God the Father reveals Himself as Holy, taking sin seriously enough to punish it with death. Yet He is also Merciful, loving us so much that He took that punishment upon Himself.
Yes, made in the image of God, you are special. Christ died for you. In Christ, we see that uniqueness not as a reason for pride, but as a reason for gratitude and personal commitment to employ the special grace and gifts of God to the service of others.
Go in God’s peace,