"Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him..." Mark 10:21
When was the last time you actually stopped, looked at someone and felt love - Jesus' love - for them?
My friend Jo wrote this post about the exact same thing just the other day - seeing people. Not just seeing the person standing in front of you, but seeing into the person. Seeing into their eyes, and into their heart. What they are going through. Their hurts and needs. Who the person is and what the person is about. Jo gives some examples of how she has not been seen. Due to a similar experience that occurred to me recently, I can relate to the hurt she felt by not being seen. I experienced an "ouch moment". A "cut to the core hurt moment" that actually left me pondering how people cannot "see" others and why. And in actual fact, it was two "moments", not far apart from each other and by the same person!
This led me to ponder what type of thoughts, circumstances, etc prevent people from "seeing" others? When presented with some possible reasons I could feel the enemy lurking in the most obvious of places - church. Yes, the exact same place from where Jo felt her "ouch moment" is where I felt mine. It's the enemy's ploy. It's his playground. "Let's hit them from the place where they feel the safest. His place." You can just hear the hate and contempt for our Lord in the enemy's voice as he says that!
I've found over the last couple of years that the enemy uses the least likely suspects to bring other Christians down. In my life he has used those nearest and dearest to me. It pains me to see him using my loved ones against me. He is sly and deceitful. He will turn God's word against those who love it, so it's up to us to pray and ask for discernment when it comes to interpreting the word.
In his book "Driven by Eternity", John Bevere writes, "We allow our experience to interpret the word of God rather than allowing the word of God to establish truth!" Experience is basically the human existence; the enemy's battle ground. Where he gets most pleasure from when fighting the spiritual battle against God. And we as humans think - quite innocently at times - that what we are experiencing is from God. Yet, all the while, it is the enemy that has used God's word to subtly move us away from Him. Tricky.
This brings me to a verse I read the other day that I found very interesting and relevant to this post -
"O Father...thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike." Matthew 11:25 NLT.
Who is Jesus talking about here - "those who think themselves wise and clever"? It took me a little while to discover who (I did have some help from Matthew Henry) and I feel it is those people who won't relinquish all facets of their life to Jesus, even while claiming to be a Christian. Those who still continue to amass wealth, do deeds for recognition, act piously, etc. Those people, in my opinion, that look past the basic principle of Matthew 22:37-40 to just love others. Yes, we still need to adhere to other commands from the word and further the kingdom by joining with other believers in prayer, study, etc, but we should not overlook the Lord's command to love others as yourself.
Consider the other type of person Jesus talks about in the above verse - "the childlike." Observe a child and their unconditional love, eagerness to please, innocence and more. That is how we should be when we approach God and live a life for Him. And the other angle is that as children we will always be learning. It's not just a "I am saved so I am wise" thing. We need HIM...always!
I guess the whole context of this post is to highlight the importance of ensuring that we are right with the word and not with the world. Seek Him for clarification of what we are unsure of. Don't just pursue what you consider to be kingdom causes without considering those that are right under your nose and need your love; those who need you to see them. Show genuine love - Jesus' love - for others. The old adage of "What Would Jesus Do?" that you see on stickers, bracelets, etc is not just four words put together. It's actually the core of how we should act, who we should be and what we should think, say and do.
Get into the word, open up your heart to him, join in "religious" ceremony and practices when called to, but never, ever overlook someone who is standing right in front of you and who needs you to see them.