Our perspective can really distort our vision! I LOVE the mirror at White House Black Market clothes store! It makes me look tall and slender. I want that mirror for my house for sure! I HATE the glass doors going into the church office. They make me look short and fluffy. (Ugg) I can feel so good in an outfit on Sunday morning and with one glance at that reflection, be bummed out for the rest of the day. I DON’T want one of those at my house. I HATE hotel bathroom mirrors. I always have more grey hairs and eyebrows that need plucking when I see my reflection in them. The odd thing is that I can see my reflection in all three of those places in the same day and get different impressions. One says I’m tall and slender and the other says I’m short and fluffy. Which is true? How can I know? I am sure my hair doesn’t sprout greys and my eyebrows don’t become bushy just because I am standing in front of the hotel mirror. The greys are really there! My kids love to use the apps that distort a picture. It is hideous what they do to my pictures. (See picture included above, LOL!)
The point is that our impressions and what we see are impacted by what we are looking at to get the reflection. I Corinthians says “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
As we look and see those around us, we need to remember that we see through a glass darkly. We don’t see with perfect understanding yet. We won’t see clearly until we are face to face with Christ. This should temper our reactions to people and situations around us. Here are four ways I am working on responding well when I see people through my limited perspective:
- Look Deeper. I am going to look beyond the outward and try and see what is really going on with folks. Teenagers may handle emotional crisis through anger and moodiness. People can lash out to hurt others because they have been hurt. Quiet people are not stuck-up and rude; they may just be introverts or nervous. Grouchy people may be dealing with health issues and sickness. The list goes on. I am going to look deeper at those around me and try to see the root of the behavior rather than just marking them off the list. I need to look deeper.
- Look Wider. I am going to look beyond my small sphere of experience. I find that I look at situations and people through the mirror of my own personal experience and not from a wider perspective. God created us all unique. He set us up in different geographies and cultures. There isn’t a “one size fits all answer to things.” Truth doesn’t change but methods and responses should. God has called us to go into all the world. For me to minister and meet the needs of people, I have to open my eyes and look beyond my comfort zone and familiar settings to see the real need. I have to look wider.
- Look Longer. I tend to process things very quickly. I find myself hearing about a situation and making a judgement without spending much time praying about it. I need to stop rushing around focusing on getting things done and really take the time to see to those around me. When my boss is short with me, I need to look longer and see if there is a need I can help meet. When I am stuck in traffic because of an accident, I need to pray for the family that is going to be impacted by the accident. When my kids are angry, I need to look longer and pray that God reveals the root of their anger so that I can help them address it rather than adding to the problem by becoming angry myself. I want to look longer.
- Look Higher. I am going to see people and situations as a reflection of God’s amazing grace at work. I want to see every situation as God working in my life. What can I learn through this situation? How can I grow because of this interaction with a cranky clerk? What words of grace can I speak into that stranger’s life that will point them to Christ? I must look higher.
On the day we got Cliff’s cancer diagnosis, I remember walking the halls of the hospital in total shock. I drove home in a blur. I had to go through a drive-through to get food for the boys on my way home. I remember how rude and short the fast food employee was with me when I had trouble making a decision on what to order. The person behind me honked their horn loud and long when I didn’t move right away to the window. What an awful day made worse by people who couldn’t see deeper than the immediate and wider than their own selfish wants.
Please help me to be part of the solution not part of the problem. Help me take the time to see people for who they really are in You. Help me to take the time to love them for Your sake. Soften my heart to see beyond bad behaviors to the hurt and anguish so many people are feeling. Strengthen my resolve to look for a God purpose in everything I encounter today. Help me to speak grace into other’s lives by seeing them as You see them. Thank you for making me part of Your story and empower me to walk worthy of that calling.
Thankful, grateful and blessed. Amen