Written by Michelle Wigginton, CS
A report of a shooting taking place on the UT campus came across my newsfeed yesterday morning. I did not even take a moment to read the report. I turned to God in prayer. I humbly acknowledged His presence right here with me and right there on the UT campus 25 minutes from my home. I was remembering the assurance we find in the Bible that, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, . . . And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”(KJV Genesis 1) As that statement flashed through my thought, I was suddenly struck by the command in that statement to all of us. More on that in a moment, I have always followed up Genesis 1 with Christ Jesus’ simplification of the 10 Commandments. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He goes on to say, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (NIV Matt 22:37-40) This is the clanging symbols, brick dropping on your head, car horn blaring, alarm clock buzzing, AK47 firing, wake up call to your true identity as the child of God. This is the “El Dorado” of how to think about and “do” life.
When I was learning Bible stories in the Christian Science Sunday School many moons ago, I thought anyone who healed was awesome and Christ Jesus was the epitome, the coolest dude to walk the planet. I’ve been trying to emulate the Christ idea he so perfectly expressed ever since. A statement that I learned while in Sunday School came to me while I was praying about the UT shooting. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discover and Founder of Christian Science in her landmark textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures makes this phenomenal statement, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.” Wow, wish I could do that . . . actually I can and so can you! Remember Christ Jesus also says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”(NLT John 14:12) How in the world, you might ask, do I do that? That was the question I knew that needed to be answered.
So I come back to that command in Genesis 1:31. It is so simple a command, so profound and yet I’ve overlooked its presence for years. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Do you see it? “BEHOLD” what a direct command! God has just informed us for all time that his creation, every aspect is not only good, but very good. If we are seeing something not good, then we are miscalculating, not being obedient to the first commandment, not honoring God’s word, not loving with all of our heart, soul and mind. We are given a direct command “behold”. Merriam-Webster Unabridged defines behold as: to look at: examine closely: watch: to receive the impression of through or as if through visual means: see intently and fully: apprehend, experience: look: used in the imperative as an interjection especially to call attention. I must line my thinking up with what God has already declared to be law. I must look at and examine closely how I am seeing each man and woman. How am I seeing this shooter? I followed God’s command to “behold, it (God’s creation) was very good.” I saw this man and everyone else in Austin and around the globe as “made in the image and likeness of God” and therefore good, despite what the outward appearance was saying. I knew in my heart if I had made a mistake I would still want to be loved, so I had to love this man. I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, but my true identity, as well as the UT shooter’s and yours, as the child of God is worth holding to, clinging to, examining closely, learning about, simply . . . LOOKING AT WITH LOVE.