I’m still learning to see through God’s eyes and not my own.
In my book, With Fresh Eyes, I tell how I asked God to see who He wants me to see and how He wants me to see them. If you’ve read my book, you might remember the chapter where I tell how I discovered I could now see wrinkles, moles, and tattoos. I made the mistake of first viewing a restaurant server as a sloppy, modern girl who wasn’t focused on her work. Yet, as I asked the Lord to show me what He saw, my perspective changed, and I saw her as a hard-working young woman was doing the best she could when asked to do too much. By the end of the meal, I forgot about the external physical appearance.
Later, I pondered that question: How does God see each of us? Here’s what I discovered.
Each person on this earth is created in God’s image, carefully crafted to be uniquely one-of-a-kind, lavishly loved by God, and of great value to Him. That includes you. Me. Your friends and family. The person who rubs you the wrong way. Every single one of us.
Sin has left an indelible smudge on every one of us. God’s image has been shattered. God sees the sin we’ve done, and what sin has done to us and His heart grieves in compassion for us.
God considers every person worth His saving grace. No person is beyond the reach of His grace. He was willing to give up His greatest treasure—His Son—to get us back. He wants the rest of us to see that He is able and willing to transform anyone back into His image. Instead of viewing others as they used to be, He invites us to see what people can become when they are renewed and remade.
Remade for what? God wants to bring us back so we can do the good works He’s planned for us in the beginning. Since we are uniquely created, God has an IEP (Individualized Eternal Plan) for each of us.
What does this have to do with me?
God wants me to view people through the lens of His eyes. He wants me to see each person I encouner as:
- Created in His image
- Sin blemished but with the potential for transformation
- Useful for his Kingdom work
Wonderful thoughts! I incorporated these ideas into one of my favorite speaking presentations and included the four points in other speeches. Oh, how liberating to see people as God sees them. It’s a new perspective, a powerful perspective. If all of us saw people as God sees them, perhaps that would eliminate so much of the current talk about prejudice. We would all be on the same page in how we look at others and we would be inclined to see the internals, not the externals.
Sad to say with a blush on my face. I quickly forget.
One morning, on my way to a speaking event, I studied my notes as I waited at an IHOP for my ride. Four young men shattered my quiet space as they slid into a booth diagonally opposite from me. They were loud. Their dress was sloppy. They were normal older teenaged boys with rough language and loud voices. And I thought the stereotypical thoughts of a stereotypical older woman.
Okay, Lord, help me apply what I’m going to tell other people.
Here’s the challenge: how do we take the theoretical and make it into the practical? How can we all practice what I was about to preach?
First, I prayed: Lord, help me see these four guys as yYou see them.
Then I got the idea to pray for them. I will never know the impact of my prayer on their lives. I do know praying them became a transformational moment for me.
Let me share my prayer with you, point by point. Maybe that will help you as you seek to see others as Jesus sees them.
Lord thank you for how you have created these young men in unique ways. Each of them is different from the other. Each of them has individual gifts, talents, interests, weaknesses, personalities. Why, I could be sitting across from future artists, doctors, engineers, preachers, and skilled plumbers. Thank you for how these four young men show your creativity.
Lord, I have no idea how sin has touched these young men. I don’t know the sorrow they’ve faced, the hurt, injustice, family feuds, bullying or unfair treatment they’ve endured. I don’t know what emotional baggage they carry. But you do. Protect them, Lord, heal their hurt. Come alongside them and let them know You are there.
Would You bring people into their lives who will tell them about Jesus? Do everything You can short of violating their free will to pursue them and bring them back to You. Transform them in ways that will make them mighty men of God.
Use these young men, Father, to become strong influencers and men of standing in our society. Take them into adventures they never dreamed possible. Make them good fathers, influential role models and strong, beneficial male leaders. Use them in mighty ways for Your Kingdom Work.
What a change of perspective! It was a powerful few moments as I exchanged my single bare bulb light of scrutiny for God’s enveloping spotlight of grace.
Pick someone you have trouble thinking the best about. Try the above four-pronged prayer. Keep praying. And if you have the chance to directly interact with that person, ask God to help you show your respect, hope, and love for them in ways they’ll notice, ways that will liberate them to desire to be all God meant for them to be.