“For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in darkness, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live.” (Psalm 43:3) NLT
Do you sometimes wish you could see the world the way God does? “Lord, help me to see the way you see.” As I go through life, I am occasionally able to recognize when I am viewing those around me through the lens of my own frustration, irritation, and selfishness. I have occasionally looked at people as resources to get what I want. Other times I look at them through the lens of my own hurt feelings or damaged sense of pride. It’s an ugly thing to see in yourself.
This dynamic has never been as clear as it was sitting in church several years ago when events from my past came rushing back to me simply from seeing one woman’s face. We had just finished the worship time and I had sat back down in my seat. I looked up and saw a woman I had previously worked with that we’ll call Ginger. She was about to be baptized. At my church, baptisms are accompanied by a short one to two minute video where the person being baptized tells the story of how life events and circumstances brought them to Jesus. And there she was! Wasn’t this the woman, I thought, who stabbed me in the back at work and talked my boss into removing me as team lead because she and I weren’t seeing eye to eye? And I began to recall all of the stories I had been told in hallway office conversations about this person’s personal conduct. She was the kind of person who would lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead. And I had been the victim of it. And there she was on the big screen telling us how she was a Jesus Follower? She was forgiven? Not by me she wasn’t...
And I realized something about myself. I didn’t see the way God sees at all. Here was a person who needed the love of Jesus just like I did. She needed forgiveness, needed salvation, needed a savior. She needed God’s help to know how to live. Of course she had selfishishly done bad things to me. She had selfishly done bad things to a lot of people. That’s who she was, because she had not yet been given a new life, she had not yet been given the Holy Spirit who shows us how to live. She had not yet been adopted and experienced the love and mercy of Christ. Hadn’t I done terrible things to people and hadn’t the world revolved around me when I was younger? And yet God was able to see past my sin and find something valuable to Him--something worth saving. She was no less worth saving than I was. It was a painful moment for me, but it was also a spectacular moment of growth.
Shouldn’t we see those around us in light of eternity and in context of their need rather than what they’ve done? Is there someone in your life that you can’t seem to see correctly through the lens of God’s love and mercy? Maybe you need to forgive someone who wronged you or pick up the phone and try to reconnect with someone you walked away from years ago. Is your rightness getting in the way of your ability to be a light to this dark world? We need to see clearly. We need to pick up and put on our glasses with the God-made prescription and see the world clearly. Let’s ask God to hep us see the way he sees, so we can not only see those around us more clearly but ourselves as well. And then maybe even the face of God will begin to slowly come into focus.