A 12th-Century Cistercian spiritual writer, William of St. Thierry, wrote this of us:
O image of God, recognize your dignity,
allow the imprint of your Maker to shine out from you.
To yourself you may appear mean
but in fact you are precious.
To the extent that you have fallen short
of him whose image you are
you have become stamped with foreign images.
But if only you begin to breathe again
to live as you were created,
if only you accept a discipline of life,
then you will quickly shed and part company with
those adulterous images
which are like stains clinging to the surface.
I read this recently and find it to be a fitting reflection as we begin the season of Lent.
The first two lines: we are made in the image of God and have inherent and invaluable dignity. Pause on that truth. We've heard it before, but let it sink in. We are made in the image of God. God is good. We are good. Yes, we may sin and do things that are ungodly, but that does not change our fundamental identity.