Mothers: Reflecting God's Image
Since we celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, I wanted to add some encouragement to the mothers in my life. And I think this is important because in today’s culture, we tend to either idolize or demonize people and positions - and neither does any good.
We can talk about how incredible and “perfect” mothers are, and unintentionally crush them into guilt as we put more on them than they can live up to.
OR, we talk of the imperfections we’ve seen in mothers or how we have been hurt by mother figures, and that does just as little good for all the mothers we ought to be thankful for.
Ultimately, the approach we should have towards mothers is one of thankfulness for the role they’ve played in our lives, and more importantly, their lives and roles should cause us to look towards God in thankfulness and worship.
So, let’s back up…
God Seen In Every Person And Position
As human beings, we have a very special position before God: we are “made in his image,” or “likeness” (Genesis 1:27).
But, even more than that, God has revealed Himself and His character throughout scripture by giving us comparisons for us to understand Who He is.
A classic example is that God is like a loving Father Who has compassion on His children (Psalm 103:13)…
But that is merely one example. The Bible is filled with comparisons so that we may get an idea of God’s goodness, love, kindness, gentleness and all Who God is by collecting these hundreds of glimpses into a single picture.
Here’s a few more examples to help explain what I mean:
God is described as or compared to a…
Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Warrior (Exodus 15:3)
King (Psalm 29:10)
Potter (Isaiah 29:16)
A friend (James 2:23)
Teacher/Guide (John 16:13)
And many more…
Each of these tells us an aspect of God’s unchanging character and role in our lives.
And one of the most great comparisons is how God is like a mother
God has used parental figures in His Word very frequently, which I’m sure is intentional since we all experience a parental figure in our lives at some point.
Here are just a few examples we see from scripture of how God is like our mothers.
Keep in mind that many of these are specifically God’s relationship to His covenant people, Israel, but we can definitely apply this love and character to God in how He loves and cares for all His people, especially now those who have been added to through His Son, Jesus (Ephesians 2:19, Ephesians 3:6, Romans 11:17-24)
“Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.” - Hosea 11:3–4
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” - Isaiah 66:13
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” - Isaiah 49:15
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” - Matthew 23:37
Mothers have been used many times to remind us of God’s undying love, protection, compassion, care, teaching, leadership and so many more things that most of us have experienced from our own mothers.
And, for these great examples of God’s Character, we ought to be thankful to our mothers...
Unfortunately, We (As Examples Of God) Are Broken And Imperfect
And this is where the problem begins.
We see how God compares Himself to mothers.
And we begin to lift them up to a place they don’t belong.
On a day when we should simply be thankful for our mothers,
Many, even in churches, begin to act as if they’re perfect (or that they ought to be)
And this puts an impossible burden on them.
Or we go the other route.
And maybe we’ve seen poor examples of mothers,
And we begin bashing the hurtful things mothers have done to those we love.
And neither way is good.
Because we were never meant to expect perfection from our mothers.
Like every other person alive,
Mothers represent a piece of God.
They have been made in the image of God
And have the special role of motherhood to exemplify specific traits from God.
But they are not God.
As with every other person alive, their role as an image bearer is to have their lives point to God as the One Who is perfect, Who is complete, Who is lacking nothing.
Just as we have been made as image bearers of God (Genesis 1:27)
Just as every Christian is an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Mothers are to point us to God, who is the perfect and complete “mother” we all need.
And as we look at our mothers, we can see their strong points. Their godly characteristics. And know that our God is even more so.
And when we also look at our mothers, and we see their faults. Their imperfections. We are rest assured that our God is not lacking in any way.
And when we look at our mothers this way, we can be thankful for everything they are.
Their strengths, as they help point us to God’s even greater strength.
And their weaknesses and lack, as they also point us to God’s strength and fullness.
There is no need to put them on a pedestal, to put a burden on them that would merely crush them; because it’s a weight they weren’t meant to bear.
Instead, we can enjoy them more fully,
Thanking God for every part of them,
And having their role in our lives bring us even more blessing as it points us to God.