I spent last week in rural Manitoba with my step-mother while she recovered from chemotherapy. When Sunday rolled around I decided to go to the Austin Evangelical Fellowship church just around the corner from her house. (That’s Austin, Manitoba population 450, not be confused with Austin, Texas population...a lot more!)
Pastor Colin Bell preached a thought provoking message based on Luke 10:30-37. He challenged us to see people through the eyes of Jesus and consider what the implications of this might be.
Do I really want to see people the way Jesus sees them? Can I handle that? Am I willing to take the time to ACT on what I might see if I truly open my eyes? Am I prepared to get involved in the messy lives of other people? Are the lives of other people even any of my business? Don’t I have enough of my own problems without worrying about the lives of others? How might this change my life, or the lives of those around me? I’m left with a lot of questions, and not many satisfactory answers.
I don’t know if I really want to see others through the eyes of Jesus. This means I’d have to look past the ragged clothing, the dirt stained skin, the shopping cart filled with garbage bags and the filthy hair of the person living on the street to see the story behind the haunted eyes. I’d realize this person once had a home, a family, a job. I might come to understand we’re really not much different and I might have to respond with some sort of action; but what?
I admit to an internal struggle when I encounter a homeless person. I don’t know how to act and I’m uncomfortable. Do I ignore them and walk on by? Do I reach into my purse and give them money? Do I say the standard, “hi, how are you today?” Do I give them the address for the local soup kitchen? Why should my reaction to them be any different than my reaction to the cashier in the grocery store? I’d greet her with an optimistic hello and ask her how her day is going – so why not the street person?
If I see people through the eyes of Jesus then I’m obligated to show love to the rude, woman in the office with her impeccably manicured nails, coiffed hair, layered make up and designer suits. It means looking past the outward facade of snobbery, rudeness and anger to see the insecurity and poor self image lurking beneath.
These are just two possible scenarios in a day of seeing through the eyes of Jesus. Imagine the impact of this action over the course of a week, a month, a year. Perhaps we appreciate our own lives more fully when we get involved in the messiness of others’. Maybe the answer to our own problems lies in helping other people overcome theirs. Is it possible that seeing people through the eyes of Jesus frees us to see ourselves through His eyes; to finally recognize the deep, deep love He has for us and the world around us?
Are you ready to see through the eyes of Jesus? Are you ready to rise to the challenge of loving people just the way they are? Are you ready to love yourself the way Jesus loves you?
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