Seeing People through Fresh Lenses

Genesis 1:26-27glasses

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sea and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.”

Are you a people person?  40 – 60% of the population report that they are shy… so chances are great that you aren’t.    Shy people are often introverts (though there are shy extroverts, of which I am probably one.)  (http://psychcentral.com/lib/facts-about-shyness/000138)   Not being a people person it can be our tendency to look inward first and then outward.  We will never see people… really see people… with this type of vision.

Now I’m not asking you to fight against personality, but I am hoping today to give you a fresh set of glasses.  Did you know that the people you will meet today have been created in the image of God?

C. S. Lewis once remarked:  “There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. … Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

Wow!  The people you come in contact with today:  “the holiest objects presented to your senses.”  Your spouse.  Your kids.  Your co-workers.  Your service station attendant.  Your barista.

We may never overcome cronic shyness.  That’s okay.  But can we sharpen our vision of our neighbor and love them as ourselves?

Seminary professor and author Robert Pyne shares an intimate story about his oldest son, Steve:

“Steve had open-heart surgery when he was just eight months old. Unfortunately, some countries, doctors, and even some parents would not have allowed him to have that operation, even though it was necessary to save his life. Steve has Down Syndrome, and too many people think that lives like his are not worth saving.My temptation as a proud dad has always been to talk about the things that Steve enjoys doing, how quickly he learned to read, or how sincerely he loves the Lord, to try to convince others that his very happy life was worth saving. On the other hand, my job as a theologian is to say simply this: His life was worth saving because he has inherent dignity as a human being in the image of God. The same is true of little boys who never will learn to read and those whose lives don’t look happy at all.” (Humanity and Sin, pp. 69, 70.)

I have a friend named Kate that started a “Nice” movement.  It is an effort to treat others around us with dignity and respect.  She challenged me to not be negative about anyone for 3 months.  I have failed miserably.  But with each new sun I am challenged not just by Kate, but by the Lord himself.

I live in a world He has created, among people that he has created.  It is my job to see them with “theologically” correct glasses.  Maybe then… and only then… will I see less of me.  And even more of Him!

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Related article from Christianity Today:  http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2014/may/female-and-made-in-my-fathers-image.html?paging=off

2 Million Dollar Lesson

James 4:11-12

USA Today once ran a story titled:”Bank Learns $2 Million Dollar Lesson”  It was about John Barrier, who didn’t like the way a bank manager, in Spokane, Washington, looked at him because of how he was dressed.  John was wearing construction clothes and got a look as if he had crawled out from under a rock. The problem began when Barrier went to Old National Bank to cash a $100 check. When he tried to get his parking slip validated to save 60 cents, a receptionist refused, saying he hadn’t conducted a transaction. “You have to make a deposit,” she told him. When told he was a substantial depositor, she looked at him as if . . . well. He asked to see the manager, who also refused to validate the ticket. Barrier went to the bank headquarters threatening to withdraw his money unless the manager apologized. No one called. So the next day, he withdrew over $2 million. (Source Date Unknown)

Why is it that we make such snap evaluations of others?  James says there is only one Law Giver and Judge… and it isn’t you or I.  “Who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Do we fail to realize the worth of those that stand before us?  Whether they drive a beat up pickup truck or a Lexux… went to Princeton or Vocational School… whether they wear a tux or tattoos… we only scan the exterior.  And then often times we slap a price tag on them based on what we see.   In this way we devalue those around us.  To God, people are worth far more than 2 million dollars. People are not mere commodities… they are extraordinary beings created in the image of God.  C. S. Lewis wrote:  “There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilization–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit…”

Today you will rub shoulders with people that are of infinite worth to their Creator.  Will you make a $2 million dollar mistake?