Someone recently asked me, “Do you see me?”
The answer felt obvious; of course I “saw” him, as he stood in front of me. But then, he asked, “Do you really see me?”
He continued, “Do you see the contents of inner self; my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my insecurities, my abilities?”
Whoa! What a powerfully loaded question. My mind turned toward all of the ways a person longs to be seen.
When I pass someone selling an item outside of a store, and I am not in the market to buy, I intentionally avoid “seeing” him or her. This is the same avoidant look people give me when they don’t want to hear my spiel about looking at my books. I realize not everyone is a potential customer, so I don’t take the rejection personally.
Yet there are times when not “seeing” someone shows a lack of compassion or insight.
It’s easy to assume that because someone is homeless, they are homeless by choice. But taking the time to interact with this person helps us to understand their individual, unique predicament. Maybe their homelessness was caused by a financial disaster, like a job loss, divorce, bankruptcy or health problems.
James 2:8-9 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
Sometimes, our assumptions and projections are caused by our own attitudes of superiority over someone else. It may be that we are more educated than another person, and we let “education” become a deciding factor in our relationships. Or it could be snobbery in reverse; we may think that because we are not as educated or financially well off, that we have nothing in common with another class of people.
However, as children of God, we can’t be held captive to the thought that God should “bless our four and no more,”
Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Recall the examples of people in the Bible who were not “seen” by the world as God saw them. One of the prime examples is David, who became the King of Israel. When the prophet Samuel came to anoint him as the second King of Israel, his dad,, Jesse was reluctant to tell Samuel that he had another son. That’s when he was reminded that God does not look on outward appearance.
1 Samuel 16: 7 People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
Think back to the story of Joseph, the much-loved son of Jacob. He was a dreamer who trusted God even though his brothers sold him into slavery. What if you had seen him working as a servant in Potipher’s house? Worse yet, what if you’d dealt with him as a prisoner in Pharaoh’s prison? Would you have recognized him as someone God had chosen for the important purpose of saving a nation? But God used him in spite of the horrid circumstances.
Exodus 45:7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
If you can learn how to see people, to truly see them, you have an insight into the heart of God. And if you think the real you is not being seen, then you need to rethink your conceptions of yourself and start seeing yourself as God sees you. He does care and He has chosen you for whatever task He has assigned you, whether you are rich or poor or educated or not. Trust Him.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”