God said in the 2nd commandment of the 10, that we were not to make any images to worship (Ex 20:4). The thing is, God already made an image of himself in Genesis 1:26-27 when he made mankind in his image and likeness. When we love others we give God a true sacrifice (Heb 10:5-7, Psalms 50:14 & 23, Psalms 51:16-19), greater than any animal sacrifice offered by the Israelites in the Temple. James 3:6-9 explains that, among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire and it can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the “image of God”.
Proverbs 19:17 says that when you give to the poor you give to the Lord. This is consistent with Matthew 25:31-46 which is when Jesus says those who clothed, fed, and took care of him when he was naked, hungry, and sick are counted as righteous and those that didn’t are wicked. The people reply by asking when have they fed, clothed, or taken care of him. Jesus responds with, “when you did it for the least of my brothers you are doing it for me”. When we take care of the least of us, we are taking care of God’s image. God’s image isn’t a statue of what we think God looks like but rather every human being because man is made in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27). This is why Jesus says in Mark 12:29-31 that two of the 2 greatest commandments are to worship only God alone (Deut 6:4-5) and to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18) because our neighbors and us, are made in the image of God. When we love them we are worshipping God, in a greater way than when the Israelites or any other group burned animal sacrifices.
In some cultures, people are more willing to give food to a statue in a temple rather than to the poor person on street. Some people will love objects over living beings. The principle is that if statues, which are not alive, are more important than people to us, then we are corrupted by a false religion that objectifies people, and personifies objects.
The Two Greatest Commandments:
Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of the religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” 32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” 34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.