The Scripture for today is 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (The Message) 16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
Some of you may have seen a beautiful video on Facebook recently. A baby girl received her very first pair of eye glasses. Her mom speaks to her and Piper’s little face turns toward her. She breaks into a huge smile. Then her dad speaks to her and again, Piper turns that tiny face. Her eyes light up and another big smile illuminates her face. She looks back and forth between her parents, her eyes and face so full of all the emotions that she is experiencing. I have to admit that I was moved to tears – seeing Piper’s joy and wonderment. I wonder what Piper saw previously when she viewed the world.
When I read the beginning of this passage, I thought of Piper. How our vision as humans is clouded by our perceptions and experiences of others. Maybe we’ve been hurt – the inability to trust distorts our lenses. Maybe we’ve experienced incredible loss – grief distorts our lenses. Maybe we are disappointed in our circumstances – bitterness and self pity distort our lenses. Maybe we are proud – judgment distorts our lenses. Maybe we are selfish - love of self distorts our lenses. Maybe we are lacking in self-esteem – anxiety distorts our lenses. There are so many ways that our view of people can become distorted. Our distorted lenses hold us back from seeing – we are blinded to the needs of others. This blindness keeps us from moving into the opportunities that God has planned for us. We miss opportunities to connect, to share, to comfort, and to encourage – opportunities to see the vulnerable hearts all around us.
When Jesus walked the earth, people failed to recognize him as the Messiah. Their vision was clouded by their expectation of who their Redeemer would be. Their expectation was clouded by their vision of how he would act. But there were some, humbled by sickness, death, sin, loneliness and alienation that were able to see Jesus in a new light. As they focused on him – they saw clearly. They recognized that this Jewish carpenter from Nazareth was no ordinary man. He was the very source of LIFE! They were transformed!
I am challenged to look beyond the surface when I encounter people. I need to overcome any personal issues that distort my lenses. In my own human weakness – I will always struggle to view people through Jesus’ eyes. But I am encouraged that as I pray – the Spirit will give me clarity of vision. He will reveal his children to me and guide my thoughts, words and actions toward them. As I seek to see with Jesus’ eyes – I am renewed. I can be an effective witness in a world that desperately needs light and hope. I can help others discover the LIFE that I have in Jesus Christ!
Lord Jesus, teach me to see with your eyes! Let my eyes fall on others with kindness and mercy! Help me to see through to the vulnerable heart inside that needs you! I love you, Lord Jesus. Amen.