Seeing Others Differently From God’s Perspective.
I got up on Tuesday morning (Jan. 25th, 2010) with these thoughts flooding my brain. Every time I meet Mike Edmar Ricart, he would smile, look at me in the eye and say with a loud voice: “I see you Joey!” I find this heart-warming. I love that about Mike (Mike if you’re reading this: “I see you too!” You inspired this post). This communicates something very fundamental to me about being a Christian! This is not a prophecy, but please test me on this:
We must be fierce in our love for each other, because Jesus was fierce in His love for sinners. We must pursue each other with the flame of God’s love burning in our hearts.
Do you have a renewed way of seeing others since you first heard the gospel? Do we have a radical-love for each other? C.S Lewis said: “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.” How true! Mark chapter 8: 22-24 deserves a life-time of meditation. I believe it profoundly touches not only on racial harmony, but how born-again Christians ought to view others differently –as created in the image of God (imago dei).
And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” (Mark 8:22-26 ESV)
Here is a blind man brought to Christ by his friends. The faith of those that brought him-did not doubt that one touch of Christ’s hand would give him back his sight. Likewise, many of us were brought to Christ by friends, relatives and other Christians. They could not help us in their power. We were blind spiritually. They brought us to Christ trusting that He would open our eyes!
After Jesus touched his eyes, the blind man’s response was: “I see MEN, but they look like TREES, walking” [Mk. 8: 24]. He was blind, but he saw men “like trees walking” after the first touch. Unlike any other miracle, he needed a second touch with his perception.
The same is true for many Christians today. We need the second touch; but more so a constant touch of Jesus in our lives. By grace we have been saved (Ephesians 2: 4) & by grace we are being sanctified. We need Him to sanctify our hearts, so that we may see others in the way that He sees them. We need Grace-centered “eyes of the heart” to see others as created in His own image. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15: 19). It is said of the rich man in Mark 10: 21 that “Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” When you look at others around you, do you perceive them in a spiritually-healthy way?
People are not mere objects (or a thing to be used). In a pornographic culture, people use images of others as mere objects or thing to be used for their sexual appetite. Exodus 20: 17 says: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” whereas the New Testament says you shall “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10: 27). If you love your neighbor, you would not covet his wife. One may not be clicking the mouse and looking at images on the internet but according to Jesus’ standard, “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” ( Matthew 5: 28). People are created in the image of God. “Your eye is the lamp of your body” (Luke 11:34). The eyes of your heart needs a new constant way of seeing others. It’s part & parcel of the “new heart” God promised in Ezekiel 36:26. He says: “I will give you a new heart.”
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer” (2 Corinthians 5: 16). Don’t dehumanize people who make you feel uncomfortable. To dehumanize someone is to treat them lesser than human beings created in the image of God. We regard no one according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit of Christ. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5). Your mind set is vital to godly Christ-like living. We are to “count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2: 3). We are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Jesus heals people. He is healing you. He opened the eyes of your heart through the miracle of regeneration. He touched you. But, because of indwelling sin, you needed a second touch to “see” others not as “trees, walking” but as people created in the image of God. They may be different in the way they think. They might look, act, think, feel differently than you. They might come from a different cultural background from yours. But they are people for whom Christ died & rose again. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5: 17).
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:16-19 ESV).
Again C. S Lewis once said: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because Christ has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Why was forgiveness such an essential part of being a Christian for C. S Lewis? The answer is the most obvious one and yet a hard-reality for many to embrace and put into practice: That God “through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Jesus washed all our filth, including our “menstrous rags” (Isaiah 64: 6), although He never had one millisecond of a bad thought or attitude. God made Him who knew no sin to be made sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5: 21). We deserved judgment & wrath, but in love He saved us by grace through faith; not by works, so that no one may boast in His presence (Eph. 2: 8). He gave us His own righteousness and clothed us with new garments of salvation. He forgave all our debts toward Him, so that we may treat each other in the same way (Matthew 18: 21-25). Grace changes how you view & treat others, because grace is how God treats you as a sinner (not judgment or condemnation).
The scripture says after “Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again,” the blind man’s “sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly” (Mark 8: 25). By grace you can forgive the inexcusable in others, because God has forgiven all the inexcusable in you. He has been very patient with you all these years. Likewise, you are called to be patient with others who are slower to learn. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 21). How can we hold anything against anybody when God’s higher court holds nothing against us? We “regard no one according to the flesh,” especially the ones we don’t agree with or have any natural affections for. We, instead, regard them as Christ regards them! “Love is patient, love is kind,” and it “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NASB).
The good news is this: God “not counting their trespasses against them” has also entrusted “to us the message of reconciliation.” This message of reconciliation is the Gospel, “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1: 16). “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,” we are to “clothe [y]ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Grace saves, enables & changes everything!
Grace to you all!