Saturday, November 05, 2011

Seeing As Jesus Sees

I'm reading the book, "The Furious Longing of God" by Brennan Manning. I'm only about a third of the way into the book, but I read something a couple of days ago that I have continued to think about. He says... "The outstretched arms of Jesus exclude no one, neither the drunk in the doorway, the panhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish and ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust of employers and the most overweening of snobs. The love of Christ embraces all without exception."

While those are words that as a Christian should come as no surprise to us, why is it that we seem to look at people and make a determination about them based on what we first see. I think most of us when we see someone on the street, in a restaurant, in a grocery store and even in our churches base our first impression of someone on what we initially see. On whether they are dressed right, whether they look "proper", who they are with, and on and on. But how often do we look at someone and have our first impression be... Jesus loves them too!

After reading that a couple of days ago, I started "noticing" people when we went out to lunch. I looked around the room at all the different faces, all the different types of people, all the different races, all the different clothes and started trying to see each of them with the eyes of Jesus. I found myself wondering as I looked at their faces and their expressions, what was going on in their lives and reminding myself that Jesus loved them no matter what that might be.

We like to think we are always trying to imitate Jesus. And I think that most of the time we probably do a pretty good job. But when you think of the list of people described above, you probably don't think about those people actually being in our churches. But whether we realize it or not, they are already there. And those are the people who are coming to our churches to see if the people inside really are like Jesus. Do they walk the walk or do they just talk about it. And they are looking to see if we really will love them like Jesus loves them. And if we are supposed to be the representation of Christ, how are we going to show God's love to them if we don't see them as He sees them? How will they feel welcomed and loved by Christ if we are judging rather than loving?

The next time we look at some one who we think doesn't dress appropriately, I hope we remember that Jesus looks at them and says "they are beautiful no matter what they are wearing". When we look at someone whose lifestyle might not be what we would choose, I hope we remember that Jesus looks at them and says, "I love them even so". And when we see people, even in our churches, who may look or act differently than we think they should, I hope we remember that Jesus sees them and says, "I love you and I'm so glad you are here!"

I pray that we can all remember that Jesus excludes no one; we therefore, should not exclude anyone either. And I pray that we will see everyone through the eyes of Jesus and remember that He loves them, just as much as He loves us... no matter what.

Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
I John 4: 7-8



Steven said...

Thanks for sharing. Found your blog through Terry Rush. It helps to give others notice so that we too can be moved with compassion.

aanath said...


our blog

jasonreeves said...

Hey there Liz. Great to see a new post. Love your thoughts!