Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
He first clearly says that we are in his image and then establishes our role because our authority and power directly flow from our moral nature. It is crucial to see our role of ruler as inextricably tied to the good Ruler in whose image we are made. When we divorce the one from the other so that authority becomes sheer force and not moral force, then we become simply “the rulers of this age” in a reflection of Satan instead of God. The way we treat this planet and its inhabitants shows either the nature of God, whose love was so great as to be self-sacrificing, or another nature that plunders the world for its own pleasure. Every ounce of power we are given in this world can be used for the betterment of all or for its degradation, and like all our choices, we reap the results. Exploiters not only cause wounding, but receive deep soul wounds in this very act, and benefactors find themselves rewarded far more than any gift they may give others.
The woes of the world will finally be remedied one day, old wounds healed and enmities redeemed. Grace always has the final word, and that is true hope for the victims of all our indiscretions. Yet grace has power in this present age as well, power to heal, rectify, redirect, pull us toward what is good and enriching and life-giving if we listen to its appeals towards a better way. When grace is the character of those in power, good flows to all, and when power has some lower character, grace subverts power to bring about good through those without power—the meek will inherit the earth. Grace always wins in the end because grace is of God and he cannot be overruled.
Most of us have very little personal power or authority or circles of influence, but to the extent we flood our small world with grace, to that extent we carry the infinite, eternal power of God forward, a circle of light that cannot be blocked or undone. It may seem to be stymied, but it plays the long game, ripples of good that wash out far past the immediate visible effects. And ripples combined can form tsunamis.