April 15, 2014
Yesterday, we opened up the topic of feeling uncomfortable with people who are different from us. Let’s dig in there a bit more, because we can really learn a lot about ourselves in this area. You see, Jesus doesn’t look at how much we have in our bank account, how talented we are, or what background we come from. He looks at our hearts. He approached corrupt tax collectors, prostitutes, criminals, and adulterers in such a non-politically correct way. When you look at people, do you have a worldly point of view or do you strive for a Christ-like point of view? Your honest answer reveals if your baggage interferes with your lenses.
You see, a worldly point of view considers how a person looks … what a person possesses or lacks … or whom a person knows. Financially well-to-do people may avoid associating with the working class. People in lower income brackets may assume that everyone with money is stuck-up and unkind. But Jesus doesn’t see people on a ledger sheet. He has no baggage to smudge His lenses. He sees each of us as individuals with needs, desires, wounds, and feelings.
Are there people you avoid because of their financial standing, vocabulary, skin color, tattoos, piercings, marital status or living situation, neighborhood … or behaviors like addictions or homosexuality … or social standing like ex-cons or politicians? Remember, they are created by God … just like you. A successful businessperson who seems aloof may need a friend. Another person might not have the college degrees you earned, but could have Godly wisdom that would make a difference in your life.
Remember, these people are in your life by design. God is perfect and has a great plan to develop you … a plan customized specifically for you. The people in your life come from particular backgrounds, experiences, and cultures … have certain skills and deficits … and made the decisions, good and bad, God knew they would just to be a part in your story, moving you closer to the incredible goal God has for you – the mind of Christ and an intimate relationship with God Himself.
We certainly want you to be prayerful as you enter into new relationships. Your prayerful focus needs to be, “How can I influence this person to be more Christ-like,” or “how can this person influence me to become more Christ-like?” The influence may occur through verbal discussion or through actions, or both. The influence could be immediate. On the other hand, it could evolve over several years as you build a strong bridge so that God’s truth is eventually transported from your heart to theirs, or vice versa.
Today, take notice of what kind of lenses you use while viewing people. Those lenses reveal your heart and baggage from your past that is influencing things adversely now. Does your heart beat in sync with God’s heart … or with the world’s? Be intentional about leaving behind the worldly point of view, with all its prejudices and misconceptions. Work on your baggage. Ask God to help you see people through His eyes. Reach out to them with His love. Remember, somebody was willing to do that for you, so why can’t you do it for others? God didn’t make a mistake. They are in your life for a reason. Whether you see others through Godly lenses or you use your me-centered baggage smudged lenses is your decision, so choose well.
Dear All-Loving God, Help me to evaluate people from Your perspective, not by what they have or how they look. Help me to have a Christ-like point of view and to respond to the real person, not to what I see on the surface. Let Your peace be real to me when my fears and baggage surface and cripple my mind, so I can overcome and respond in a way that honors You and helps me to grow. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who looked beyond my physical body, deeds, and attitude, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
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. 2 Corinthians 5:16
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 1 Peter 1:13-15