When I was a little girl, my mom asked me to look out the front window and see if the flag was still up on the mailbox, so she’d know whether or not to make the trek down our long gravel driveway to get the mail. The fact that I couldn’t answer her question alerted her to the fact that we needed to get my eyes checked so I could see better.
Both my parents wore corrective lenses so it wasn’t out of the ordinary to consider glasses for me. I will say, I was not excited at the prospect. When the doctor confirmed that I, in fact, needed glasses, I cried in the exam room. Since I was already teased for being the smallest in most of my classes, adding “four-eyes” seemed unbearable.
Of course, when I got my new glasses, I was amazed at what I had been missing. Things like seeing individual leaves on trees and details on billboard signs that could be easily read by others from the playground. My friends were stunned to find out how much I couldn’t see before, and they were surprised by the fact that no one realized it earlier, including me.
In the natural, vision can be corrected in a variety of ways: glasses, contacts, lens implants, or laser surgery. I remember receiving my rose tinted color glasses and asking how old I had to be before I could get contacts. I don’t really like the way I look in glasses, but as I get older, there is a convenience factor in having a progressive lens rather than having to locate my reading glasses to use in conjunction with my contacts. (And I find it more fun to eat when I can see what I’m eating.)
We get used to seeing things a certain way. It doesn’t really occur to us that we might not be seeing as clearly as we once did. Sometimes, we justify how we see others because they have differing values and opinions or because they have caused us some form of hurt. We forget that we do not struggle against flesh and blood but rather the kingdom of darkness.
We live in a time where it is all too easy to either purposely overlook someone or be hypervigilant in finding fault. Somehow, it becomes convenient to dehumanize them so that we can feel justified that our opinion is the right one.
You may jump to quickly apply this concept on a large scale as you ponder the upheaval in our nation, but this is equally true on a smaller scale in our families and churches. How we see our spouse, children, and fellow Christians can be clouded. Rather than a vision problem, this is a heart issue. We build our walls and use various defense mechanisms to distance ourselves because we don’t want to be hurt….again.
Correction vs. Protection
There are instances when it is imperative to protect and shield our vision. Think about the super fashionable safety goggles you are told to wear in science classes or safety glasses available for when you are working with wood or other substances which could easily damage your eyes.
We protect our vision spiritually by continually lining up with what God sees and says. It is crucial to do this even when what we see in the natural world doesn’t seem to correlate. It isn’t beneficial to choose to avoid a situation, or put up a blockade, simply because the circumstances don’t align with your expectations.
The Right Correction
God knows the right prescription for you, but receiving correction requires your willingness to be evaluated. You may have to pick up your God glasses daily until your heart vision is permanently changed. I often pray that others will see Jesus through me. It is just as important that I be able to see each individual the way God sees them.
Achieving this requires me to take off the detrimental and dehumanizing labels frequently attached to individuals which can polarize us. Each individual has to make the necessary adjustments or modifications to be able to view people and the world correctly. Mark and I have to remove our polarized clip-on sunglasses to read our phone screens when we are outside. Tinted lenses intended to protect our eyes from the sun, prevent us from being able to read messages.
Yes, some people are harder to see with lenses of love. When you remember that the Lord desires that none perish, but all experience eternal life in His presence, you realize that God loves even the most unlovely. Being Christlike requires that we die to our human desires for power. We must surrender our quest of influence and control and instead walk in Christ’s humility, authority, and love.
Is the flag on the mailbox up or down? Do you need to get a new prescription for your eyes and heart? If so, start with repentance and meet with the Father. He’ll help you with that additional piece of armor. Then you can properly see and be more effective in growing His Kingdom.
The Way of Love
I Corinthians 13:8-13 ESV
8 Love never ends…9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
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