Hanging on my son’s bedroom wall is a picture of Jesus. What is amazing about this picture is, when you look closely, the picture is composed of a vast multitude of tiny dots. Looking even move closely, you can see each dot is actually a tiny word. In fact, this portrait of the Living Word of God is made up of the entire gospel of John! The composition of this picture is, in reality, thousands of bits of Jesus. The image is solid to its core. It has integrity. What you see is what you get.

Everything, however, is not as pure or solid as it appears at first glance. What if you found, upon closer examination, that every dot comprising the face of Jesus was a tiny picture of Satan?

If you want to know what a picture represents, look at the pixels.

Many people and things in our culture present a picture of Jesus.  At first glance, all seems nice. However, if you look closer you might find a very different picture. It is in the details of our lives that the reality of our identity is revealed. How we treat others exposes what we really think about ourselves. Are we entitled? It is in how we take notice of the people who drift into our lives that we discover what we think about their value to us. It is easier to love people if you don’t have to smell them. It is harder to love the sweaty fat guy hogging the arm rest of the middle seat on an airplane.

Loving your neighbor as yourself is done one pixel at a time. So is loving God. Love is a violent act because we refuse to get out of the way. In fact, we must clear the way with a sword. When Jesus said, “If your hand offends you, cut it off,” He wasn’t talking about your brother’s hand, He was talking about yours.

A friend of mine told me his wife hired an older handyman to replace her blinds. The gentleman did great work, and was paid a flat rate per job, but he was exceptionally slow. Instead of keeping focused on the job at hand, he wanted to talk. Finally, one day on their way home from church, my friend’s wife drew a line in the sand.

“We need to fire this guy,” she told her husband, “I just don’t have time for him. He’s always wanting to talk. I can’t get anything else done, and, really, he won’t quit jabbering. After all, he’s not a person, he’s my handyman.”

Sometimes we can forget that lifetimes are made up of moments, that relationships are nurtured, or lost, one word at a time. Our relationship with God is only as close as the moment we are in. It is all we have and, in the end, it is all we are. If you are so intent on pushing forward into the future, or struggling with your past, that you have no time for those who are with you in your present, you might find, after all is said and done, that your picture of Jesus is, in reality, innumerable tiny pictures of yourself.