Sunday, April 01, 2007

In the Background

I belong to and one of the things I enjoy doing besides reading the profiles is looking at the background in the profile picture. I like the candid ones taken in the home or outside. The poises are funny, serious, silly, or a blatant effort to be something other than what the person really is. But the backgrounds are not staged.

On the walls, you can see what interests people. The furniture shows what makes the people comfortable. Colors are important, and the things just left out are telling. In one there is a jug of milk on the counter. A pile of stuffed animals graces the bed in the backdrop of one shot. In another there is a brother holding a cat. (Not implying that the brother or the cat was left out instead of being put away.)

If you look closely and listen carefully to people, you will find what is in the background, behind the image deliberately presented to the world. You can see a friend's backdrop of verbal abuse by the way he shifts his eyes away from you when it is your turn to speak. Another friend may wear an excess of make-up or a certain style of clothes that says I'm trying to be something because my I'm not comfortable with my background.

Did you know that God examines our image in the context of our background? And you know what? He gives us permission to leave behind the things that are disturbing and to decorate our surroundings with things of worth. He's interested in what's there, but only in the sense that it helps define who you are for a moment. He knows we are not part of a flat dimension like a picture. We are individuals that can separate from the backdrop.

What an intriguing concept. Have you looked at your background? Do you want to throw out things that loom in your image such as an ugly poster that last year defined your interests but this year no longer suits your maturity?

This is how The Message puts it:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (The Message)
Copyright © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
16-20Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.

Or more simply, in NASB:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (New American Standard Bible)
Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

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