It’s a Mom Eat Mom World
I had the privilege today of witnessing a near fist-throwing brawl between two humans. No, it wasn’t at the local tavern or at an intersection between angry drivers. It was at a playgroup, between two moms.
I didn’t see the actual offense, but I pieced the story together and it went something like this: a grandmother had touched, picked up, or moved a child that wasn’t her own. The displaced child’s mother stormed across the room and got in the grandma’s face. Not afraid of causing a spectacle, the mother berated the woman, loudly, “you are not allowed to touch my child!” But what’s more, she added over and over again, “You touch him, I’ll pop you in the face! I’ll pop you! In the face! I’LL POP YOU!” The unruffled grandma said to her, “go ahead.” I grabbed my bucket of popcorn and Diet Coke and sat down to watch the show. But alas, the ordeal finally dissipated and the testosterone—or shall I say, estrogen—in the room resumed to levels of normalcy.
As I reflect on this spectacle, it’s easy to think of all the times I have witnessed similar confrontations. The social arena of this playground is indeed a microscopic slice of life mirroring the rest of the world. It’s a dog eat dog world, and I’ll admit that I certainly have an animal instinct that’ll fight tooth and claw to survive. But I am reminded of the creation story in Genesis, and that I’m made out of, and for, much more than that: “God said, let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness . . .” (Gen 1:26).
We are made in the image of God.
Being made in the image of God, we’re created for community. Our Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—exists in perfect harmonic unity, mutual submission, union, and fellowship. The Greek father’s called this, “perichorisis” meaning, the intimate intertwining dance of Father, Son, and Spirit. We’re created to both experience and mirror this dance with God and each other—a dance of honorable intimacy.
But instead of dancing we dominate, instead of waltzing we wallop. We can preach “do unto others as you would have them do to you,” until we’re blue in the face but what we need is a perspective that transcends the golden rule. To experience true and lasting transformation, I must put on a new spiritual lens and begin to see everyone as “bone of my bone flesh of my flesh.” This is something that humans collectively (and dare I say, especially Christians) should keep in mind before we berate one another and zero in on our differences.
Judy Howard Peterson, one of my favorite preachers paraphrased Genesis 2:23 when she said, “When Adam looked at Eve—he saw himself in her. ‘Hey! I recognize you! You look like me and I look like you! Bone of one of my bone! Flesh of my flesh!’” For they were both created in the image of God; they mirrored each other, they mirrored God.
With this in mind, the next time I’m tempted to pop someone in the face—which I often am—I hope to have the mindset to stop and to look at that face, and think, “Hey! She looks like me, and I look like her! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!” When we learn to see through God’s perichoretic eyes, we’ll see people who aren’t created to feed our self-interest. We’ll see people made from the same stuff as us—the God stuff. Created more for dancing than destroying.