Several years ago, when we lived in Houston, I went to visit our daughter, Bethany, on the job. She was working at the time as a nurse on a medical-surgical floor at Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. She didn’t know I was coming. It was a surprise.
I made my way to the seventh floor and wandered through the labyrinth-like hallway. I am sure I looked lost. I came up to a nurses’ station and said to the secretary, “Can you tell me where I can find Bethany?” As the secretary stared at her paperwork, she asked, “What room are you in?” I guess she assumed I was a patient looking for my nurse.
As I pondered her question and before I could answer, she looked up. I smiled. She let out a quiet shriek. “Oh, you must be Bethany’s dad!” Which of course was what I was about to say. But before I could say anything, she exclaimed, “I would recognize that smile anywhere. You have Bethany’s bright smile.”
I did not correct her with the fact that actually Bethany had my smile since I had it first, but I did appreciate her making the connection. As with most families, there are many physical and personality qualities that I share with my kids that point to a family resemblance.
Likewise, you have a family resemblance to God. You have a “smile” of righteous character that looks like your Father. Now that is not to say that your similarity in character is always obvious. Just as a child can hide their family resemblance though how they wear their hair, or color their hair, or their dress, or other factors, we can hide our family resemblance to God though sin.
Because sin is not part of God’s character (I Jn 3:9), when we sin we are putting a blemish on that family resemblance. We are hiding the fact of our resemblance. The look is still there under the sin. The look does not go away. The look was given to us at our salvation. Our role is to let the look fully shine forth. Our role is demonstrate what a child of God looks like by the “smile” of our righteous character.