What a difference six years can make. In the course of that time, much has changed. While I could spend hours pondering the changes our country has gone through since the attacks of September 11, 2001, I would rather focus on the change that must happen within us.
This morning, at the same time when the World Trade Center towers collapsed 6 years ago, I spent the better part of an hour speaking with my friend, Saleem, who happens to be a Muslim. He owns a gas station near my church, and we have struck up a friendship over the course of the last several months. Each Tuesday morning, after our staff prayer meeting, I head over to his store and pick up a couple of granola bars for breakfast. We usually talk for a few minutes or so, and then I head on my way.
Today, we got into a much deeper discussion as he shared with me his journey from being a student in India, to his time as a young engineer in London, to moving his family to the United States as he tried to provide for his family in the best way he knew. He showed me a picture of he and his wife, with their two young adult children. What a beautiful family! And, how he loves them!
Our conversation highlighted a lesson that the Lord has been showing me in recent months. We often tend to break humanity down into groups based on our own understandings and perspectives: good or bad, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, etc. A more useful way would be to look at people through the commonalities that we share. For instance, in Saleem, I saw today a picture of the image of God, a trait that all of humanity has shared since creation. In the hijackers, we saw a clear demonstration of mankind's depravity and hopelessness. The two images come together in a powerful way, reminding us how we each live in both camps. Throughout our lives, each of us display the image of our Creator as well as the extreme "fallen-ness" of the world we inhabit. It is in recognizing these opposing pictures that we begin to view all the people of the world as Christians should: a tarnished version of what one is supposed to be, but with the tremendous potential of being polished and buffed to a brilliant shine!