THROUGH THE EYES OF JESUS
By DANNY MINTON
Running late to get to my breakfast meeting, I decided to take a shortcut, bypassing the school zone that would have made me even later. This particular morning I was watching carefully since there were children out by the curb waiting on the school bus. Passing several houses, I spot an old man in his late eighties or early nineties who has fallen on his driveway. A young female neighbor is pulling on his arms trying to help him up unsuccessfully. I pulled to the side of the street, exited the car and helped her get the man to his feet.
Entering the car and continuing on my trip, I got to thinking about helping an “old man.” It was then I realized that to many people I meet I would be called an “old man.” I’m sure my neighbor who is in his twenties would consider this gray-haired man an “old man,” telling folks about the “old man” neighbor he has living next door. Maybe the kids driving the golf cart around the block when they wave tell their parents about the “old man” who lives down the street.
When I was attending Abilene Christian, I had several teachers who I considered “older men.” As I look back, those “older men” were in their late thirties and early forties. There’s a scene in the movie “War Games” where two teenagers are watching a video of a scientist with his young son. The teenage girl makes the statement that the scientist is “amazing looking.” The young male teen answers her, telling her that he’s old. She asks him how old he is and is told forty. Her response, “Oh, that’s old!”
Perception, it’s all about whose eyes you are looking through. We arise in the morning, see the sunshine, smell the fresh air and proclaim it is a great day! Our neighbor, whose spouse died last night, sees the same morning, but sees the dreariest day of his or her life. Someone else enjoys their first day of retirement basking in the sunlight while the man across the street, sweat trickling off his brow, around his neck, and down his back is praying for clouds to cover his misery. A mother lies in bed sick with windows covered listening to her children playing gleefully in the backyard. It’s the same day, but everyone sees it with different eyes.
Jesus teaches us that as Christians we need to look at people and life with eyes other than our own. He wants us to see the world through his eyes. One of my favorite stories is when Jesus is walking through Jerusalem and comes across a blind man. The disciples ask “who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” They saw sin. His parents will see him as a threat to their safety when brought to the Jewish council. His friends will be confused, wondering if he is the same one they knew since birth. The Pharisees will see him as a liar and menace to their desire to get rid of Jesus.
Jesus? Jesus sees a man born blind who wants to see. He wasn’t concerned about how the man became blind or the consequences that would follow. He simply healed a man who wanted to see and sent him on his way. This was the same thing he had done to scores of others he had met in his ministry. He saw people and looked at them with love and compassion.
Most of us have developed “tunnel vision,” looking at the world through our eyes and failing to see the full picture of what is going on around us. It’s like the poem of the six blind men who came upon an elephant and each one by touching a part of the animal described what it was like. A wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan and a rope were how each individual man pictured the elephant. The problem was they could only comprehend what the elephant looked like because of their limited sight.
When we look at life with only our own eyes, we miss a lot. We pass the man on the corner with a sign for help, and we think why doesn’t he clean himself up and get a job. Yet, we have no idea what put that man in the situation. We know nothing of his past, his family, his misfortunes that brought him to begging on a street corner. We witness a woman being rude to a store clerk and wonder how she could treat her this way.
However, we know nothing of her day, what it’s been like or her life and what she has gone through to make her treat others this way. We see an unruly child, one who doesn’t pay attention or acts ugly to others. We wonder why his parents haven’t raised him better. Then, we know nothing of his home life. Does he have a mother and a father at home? What kind of parents does he have? What does he come home to each evening?
What goes on in home life, work life, church life, or life, in general, is more than what we see with our own eyes. When we open up and begin to look at others and situations through the eyes of Jesus is opens up a completely different perspective. It’s like in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” You begin in black and white, but when the door to the farmhouse opens to Oz, and you see color for the first time it opens up a whole new perspective.
Dorothy’s dress isn’t gray, it’s blue! There’s a horse that changes color, a yellow road and emerald city. Dorothy who was thinking of herself before now becomes concerned with a straw man who wanted a brain, a tin man who wanted a heart, and a lion who wanted courage. She was no longer looking at life through her eyes and her problems but engrossed with seeing life through the needs of others.
To a teenager, I’m an old man. To a ninety-year-old, I’m a youngster. Life is not all about us, it’s about all of us working together for each other. Much of the philosophy of the world is about “me.” What is in it for “me.” “How will it benefit “me.” Christians are taught differently. We are taught to be different. We are taught to “love one another as we love ourselves.” Learning to see life the way Jesus did will bring us all closer together. We may find out that as we are different, we discover that we are more alike than we perceived.
“And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They *said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.”–Matthew 20:32-34
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ