The All-Merciful, the Forgiver, the Shaper of Beauty, the Light, the Guide … They see God not as a one-dimensional, wrong-right, yes-no sort of God, but one comprised of many facets, many attributes.
In Him, they believe, comes together all aspects of goodness.
(I would like to note that the Muslims believe in the same One God as the Jews and the Christians—all three traditions “simply” differ on which prophets they choose to believe and what they believe about them. For instance, though the Muslims believe Jesus to be a prophet, they disagree that God would allow one of his own Chosen to die in such a brutal manner.)
But to return to the original point: If God is the sum of all these virtues, what are we, we who are made in His reflection?
Genesis 1:27—“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” This, then, would seem to imply that we have some manner of his goodness reflected in us. And I’m willing to bet that, with enough time, even the most self-deprecating among us could find that kernel of decency within ourselves.
The key question is: Are we searching for goodness in others?
This vision, this piece of God—it might not be obvious. It might not be what we expect, what we usually attribute to “the divine.” But as the Muslims understood from the beginning, God is not to be boxed within our expectations. Just as the Creator cannot be easily labeled or pinned down to one definition, so neither can his Creation. To be perfectly clear, God is in everyone. Everyone.
Simply because we happen to not like this person, that one co-worker or neighbor or ex-boyfriend or “evil” teacher, if we were to have the patience to look at every individual, to truly look at them and have the patience to listen to their story, I’m willing to bet we would find something truly spectacular. Admittedly, some people may or may not have made some choices in their life that led to the decay of this great gift. But with the eyes and ears of compassion, their inner beauty at the core, or even the elusive sight of what-might-have-been, eventually goodness becomes visible.
Is looking for goodness in others easy?
Is it natural for us, in our busy, judgmental, on-the-go 21st century world? Heck no. And I’m not saying I am very good at doing this either. Goodness knows my temper can flash at the most inopportune moments. All I’m suggesting is, sometimes a little bit of patience and old-fashioned keeping-our-mouth-closed can lead to the most extraordinary of miracles.
On the flip side, here is another point to consider: Just as we should look to see the beauty in others, we too can offer a vision of the Divine to others in our everyday actions and behavior. Though we may consider ourselves accident-prone knuckleheads, to someone else we really just might embody their guardian angel—that one smile that gets them through the day. And that, my friends, is a pretty cool thought.
So those are my two cents for the day.
If the God of the Ancients, the All-Knowing, the Wise, could see “everything that He had made,” and declare it “very good,” (Genesis 1:31), shouldn’t we aspire to do the same?
About Brett Beeson
Brett Beeson, officially, is an ensign (officer) in the United States Navy, currently attached to DDG54 Curtis Wilbur out of Yokosuka, Japan. She graduated in 2014 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Arabic and a minor in Spanish. Unofficially, she is the “evil twin” (one of Jory’s twin daughters), that annoying-friend-who-won’t-stop-calling, perpetual questioner, ice cream enthusiast, scribbler, roarer-of-laughter, and eternal student of God’s amazing mysteries. After extensive travel in Morocco and Oman, she has become passionate about furthering her/our understanding of the Middle East and Islam. To enjoy more of Brett’s writing, please visit Randomness with Brett.