From my office window I can see the house across the street. For the last few weeks a contractor has been dismantling and rebuilding a retaining wall across that house’s property line abutting the sidewalk. At this point the wall is reaching completion and it is an amazing work of art. I have watched in wonder as the stonemason selected stones and placed them in just the perfect place then perfectly shaped the mortar lines – this craftsman knows what he is doing. The wall is beautiful.
There are many different walls along our street and many different styles and substances utilized in shaping these walls. Would it be appropriate for me, a bystander and observer of the craftsman’s handiwork, to offer my opinions for improvements in his design? Do I have any right, uninvolved and un-invested in the process, to suggest using smaller stones or thinner lines? Obviously, since I am not participating in the work of creating this wall, I mustn’t criticize the finished product.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Those who see the words of Scripture as truth understand that the above reference to the Psalms is speaking, in context, of God’s great work of creating human life. Each and every human being is a wonderful work of God. Whether slight in frame or sturdy, light in complexion or dark, each and every person is made in the mold of God’s reverence and awe. Just as we haven’t the right to condemn the design and development of a wall, neither do we have the right to do just that with our fellow creation.
There has been reports in the news and social media recently of companies who won’t sell ‘plus sizes’ because it doesn’t ‘fit the brand’s image’ and commentators who disparage pro sports cheerleaders as ‘chunky’. Thankfully, there has been a public outcry against this type of rhetoric. Having a teenage daughter and knowing a number of people wrestling with body image issues, my concern is that the lingering effects of ignorant comments and stereotypes may make those I know and love doubt the truth of God’s word – that each of us are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Are you happy, healthy and helpful to others? If so, does it really matter what is on the label of the clothes you wear. What matters is that the one who designed you is pleased with the way you are – a work of art, a thing to behold and beautiful. Imagine what would happen if young people listened to their perfect creator – body and soul – instead of their imperfect critics. You and I are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Perhaps someone should put that on a t-shirt instead of a couple initials and an ampersand.