Earlier this year I entered Ruth’s memoir in a national writing contest that required written permission from everyone named or characterized in the book. My list topped eighty people! Some I knew would give permission. Others I was afraid to ask. Still others I doubted would respond at all.
Would you? If you didn’t know what someone might say or how they would represent you before the whole world?
Even if not everyone in the world reads my book, that’s a lot of trust.
Sad to say, Ruth’s book (although a finalist!) didn’t win the competition. However, the seventy signed permission slips stuffed in a manila folder in my kitchen gave me a lot to think about. People with qualifications far greater than my own–doctors, therapists, lawyers, teachers, ministers–trusted me enough to say, yes, I could use their names.
Their confidence made me doubly concerned that I portray them honestly and accurately. What a responsibility! Especially knowing these people–and others–would someday read what I had written.
Such trust reminds me of another whose name I represent. One with far greater qualifications. Imagine representing not just a name, but The Name, HaShem, the creator of the universe! Yet that is exactly the trust given to me as one made in the image of God.
Yikes! Talk about responsibility! How would my attitude, actions, and words change each day if I consciously considered who I’m representing? I’d probably be a lot less likely to push my own agenda or seek my own way. I’d strive to be more humble and forgiving. Quieter too. Less complaining. More encouraging.
Yet, the incredible thing, is that God has entrusted me to represent him. Failed. Flawed. Weak. Mistaken. Confused. Troubled as I am. Mercifully, there is a more perfect representation, one without blame or fault. One who was the exact, perfect, loving, patient, kind, just, trustworthy, faithful representation of God.
His story and purpose are revealed in the Gospels. And the closer I imitate him, the closer my life conforms to the original image in which I was made.
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,” Colossians 1:15.
What do you think?