Thursday, October 11, 2018

Heal the World

Yesterday, we said that an attitude of forgiveness sees the world with sober eyes, which enables the heart to see beyond what appears to be and to acquire a vision of hope for what God intended. The world, of course, wants nothing to do with this; it wants you to keep your eyes on yourself and never see past that. 

But I confess that I spend a lot of my time aching for what we could do in the world if we would be willing to see beyond our own broken reflection in it.

These eyes, they change so much. They change everything. When you see the world through eyes of forgiveness and grace, you become aware of more than you could ever possibly know by your own experience. You begin to see the world not just the way that God sees it, but the way that others see it, and this enables you to see them the way they see themselves, to see God the way that they see Him, to move beyond your own limited perspective and develop this grand vision of things as they are, as they could be, as they ought to be, beyond what you could ever even know of it. And that's how we change the world. 

Take, for example, that woman who is always micro-managing all the details and planning all the big schemes. Through your own eyes, maybe you're irritated by her. Maybe you roll your eyes. Maybe you just can't stand all the "drama" she creates by caring so much about the little things or by injecting herself into the finest points. Face it: she's exhausting. Doesn't she see it?

But look through sober eyes, and you see something else. You see that she is a woman for whom performance has always been praised. She is a woman for whom to have any chance at community at all, she has had to build it. You will see that she sees herself as needing to be this way in order to be anything at all, and all of a sudden, she's not exhausting or irritating; you grieve for her. All of a sudden, you see what she truly needs, and you see how you can come alongside her not only to be what she never thought she could have, but to introduce her to a God who is beyond her wildest imagination - in the very way that she needs to see Him. Bonus: you get to see Him that way, too.

You can literally change her life, if only you can see it through eyes not your own. Through your own eyes? She will only ever irritate you. 

Or take, as another example, the man who does the despicable. He bullies his way to the top, knocking down anyone who comes anywhere near him. He stands defiant of his need for anyone or anything; he's going to make it on his own. You find him brash, at best; abusive, at worst. You can't understand why he doesn't see what he's doing to those closest to him, and you can't fathom that he even really cares. 

But look through sober eyes, and you see something else. You see a man who has been recognized only by comparison, for better or for worse. He's been better than so-and-so in this realm, but never measured up against you-know-who here. His entire life has been defined by how he stacks up, so of course, he spends his life stacking the deck. He only exists, in his own heart, by being measured against others, and it's a cycle he can't escape. All of a sudden, you're not disgusted by him; you find yourself filled with compassion for him. You see what he truly needs, which is to be recognized for his own qualities, and you are able to introduce him to a God who made him just the way that he is...and for a purpose. Bonus: you get to see that God through new eyes, too.

You can literally change his life, if only you can see it through eyes not your own. Through your own eyes? He will only ever be a boar. 

Are you getting this? This is how we change our world. This is how we heal the world. The world doesn't want you to know that you can do this. It doesn't want you to think it's possible. But when you see the world through eyes that go beyond your own experience of it, when you see the world through God's eyes, you have the opportunity to do something amazing. You have the opportunity to change it

You can heal persons. You can change their lives. You can set their hearts free. You can set their sights on God and give them a new set of eyes for the world until we're all seeing things through a new heart. And then...and then, just feel the heartbeat of God through all of Creation. Yearn for it. Strain for it. 

Can you hear it?

This is what Jesus wants from us. This is what He came to show us is possible. This is what He calls us to follow Him and do. It's to love people, to truly love people. And it starts with an attitude of forgiveness and grace, eyes to see the world through more than our own mere experience of it. 

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