In late February of this year, after multiple separations and mistake after devastating mistake, my husband, Art, and I, agreed to divorce. It was a long-time coming. Not even our marriage counselor knew what to do with us anymore. Art found his own permanent new home rather quickly. Our divorce papers were drawn up and signed. And then the world shut down for the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Before the pandemic started here in the US, at one of the last face-to-face meetings with my church community group, I gathered with them around the fire pit for prayer night. It was a moderately cool late February evening of the same week Art and I made our difficult decision. Our 5-year-old son was “better coming from a broken home than living in a broken home,” was some of the counsel we were receiving. Given the explosive dynamics between us, the instability in the home, and our selfish hearts, along with other circumstances I won’t get into here, it was the “right” thing to do. Anyway, that evening at my community group, several of us came armed with scriptures that we wanted to pray through and over our fellow brothers and sisters. I brought Psalm 8. It had never really resonated with me prior to that week, but I had listened to a podcast from Pastor David Platt of McLean Bible Church in Washington D.C. on this very Psalm that impacted me; and then as this pandemic has worn on, and our world, country, and even the Church has become more divided and polarized, the Psalm spoke to me again, but in a different way. A much more personal way. And that personal way this Psalm reached me, or I should say God reached me, is how I discerned one can, in partnership with the Holy Spirit, dramatically transform their spiritual growth through a change in perspective and heart. As soon as I applied the principle, everything was different.
But to understand this, and delicately mine the truth treasures of God’s Word, we, dear sisters, must be lavishly robed in God’s glorious grace as we prayerfully read, study, and meditate on the scripture. So let’s dig in. In Psalm 8 verses 1-2, David praises and glorifies God for his sovereignty and majesty. Then, in verses 3 and 4 (emphasis mine),
“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?”
David is saying that despite the vast world that God has created, and how small humans are in comparison, how incredible is it that God cares for us? How amazing is it that we are on his mind and that he thinks about us? I like to personalize scripture, so I would journal this as: “How incredible is it that the one true Almighty God who created the heavens and the earth, who breathed the breath of life into Adam and created Eve, thinks of little old me, and cares for me?”
David continues in verse 5 (my favorite part): “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” Say what? Go back and re-read verse 5 again. It is astonishing that God made me (and you!) in His image, not just higher than the animals, as Pastor David Platt says, but lower than the angels!
And then He took it a step further to crown you (and me!) with glory and honor! This is a loving, faithful God! As wonderful as my earthly father was, he couldn’t do all that!
God has crowned each of us, that He made, in His image, with glory and honor. Notice that “human beings” in verse 4 is rather inclusive and does not exclude non-Christians, or your demanding boss, the nosy neighbor, or the driver who cut you off this morning. This is certainly a mind-blowing change in perspective. You know that mom who gets on your nerves because you can’t believe she is going to send her kid back to school full-time (or keep them home full-time) in the middle of the pandemic? Even if she is not a believer (or maybe she is) she was made in the image of God, and yes, also made a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor. The high-profile politician(s) that anger you? Also made in the image of God, a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor. The organizers of protests, “the other man or woman” who destroyed your marriage, the person who publicly humiliated you, the drunk driver who killed your son, and even that person or people who hurt you so much emotionally and/or physically that you can’t yet even talk about it yet - they, too, are made in His image, and crowned with glory and honor, a little lower than the angels. All sinners, though, a result of The Fall.
None of us is perfect or does good by God’s standards (Psalm 14:3b; Rom. 3:10-12). That’s why we need Jesus. And how do we share Jesus with people, perhaps even some of those described above, who may not know Him or some who may need to be reminded about Him? And how shall we respond to Psalm 8? By shining the light of God’s glory and honor, extending grace that we have been given, and offering forgiveness as we have been commanded (Eph. 4:32).
As the pandemic enters its 5th month, there’s no doubt been heartache, pain, and loss, yet I am actively seeing the hand of God in the healing of my marriage. My husband and I, by the Grace of God, and in answer to fervent prayer from the community of believers who support us, have started to reconcile. Psalm 8 helped me start to see the people who had hurt me (including my husband) not as enemies, or evil (as I once had), but as human beings created in the image of God, crowned with glory and honor. They may or may not know Christ; regardless it is my job as a Christ follower to reflect God’s love to them. So this means forgiving, offering encouragement instead of condemnation, and remembering every single time my heart starts to shift to its worldly ways, that the greatest commandment is to love my neighbor. To love like Jesus. And perhaps even most important of all, to remember that I am but a sinner who needs Jesus to continually remind me that He is The Way, The Truth, The Life (John 14:6), and that he died for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). If that isn’t love that compels me to love not only God, but all who He made - even when they are hard to love, then I don’t know what is. Because guess what? I’m hard to love, and I bet you might be, too, at times.
And if God loved His humans enough to make them in His image (like He did me), a little lower than the angels, and crown them with glory and honor (like He did me), then I can certainly embrace God’s perspective. He has the full picture. In fact, He is the full picture - the beginning and the end (Rev. 21:6). He can see in front of and behind us, He goes before us and behind us, and he has information we are simply not privy to (Is. 55:8-9). Yet I trust He is doing something profound. Like transforming my heart and making my marriage new.
Change your perspective to see others as God sees them (made in His image, a little lower than the angels, crowned in glory and honor) and allow Him to transform your heart too.