Give Me Your Eyes (Brandon Heath)
We need to see people like God see them. (Steven Gibbs, among others)
“When we see them as God sees them, we will glimpse His images in their faces…” (The Hole In Our Gospel, Richard Stearns)
I think you get the idea. To live a full and meaningful life we must live outwardly not inwardly. We must care for others. But guess what? We can’t do that on our own. It doesn’t come naturally to us. The only way we can have that kind of compassion and love is to let God show it to them through us.
Now I don’t have a reputation for being the most patient or tolerant person. Prime example is when I’m in the car. If you’ve ever had the “privilege” of riding with me you know what I’m talking about. Just driving along and someone changes lanes on me at the last minute WITHOUT using a turn signal! Burns me up!! Or someone driving down the middle of two lanes, oblivious to the other cars on the road – equals wet-hen mad. People not obeying the traffic rules – BIG no-no in my book (I’m such a Vehicular Pharisee!) Don’t even get me started on Parking Lot Etiquette. Yes, I’m Miss Big-Britches when I’m sitting in my driver’s seat behind the wheel. But would I yell so much at other drivers if I knew they could hear what I say? Um, probably not. Apparently I have plenty of room for God to tinker around in that area. He’s so good to me!
So this is what I’ve started doing. When someone really ticks me off in traffic I ask God to introduce me to the “object of His affection” in the other car. Then I make up things about that person that could be true (or better yet, I let God guide my imagination). I pretend that He says to me, “Yes, that’s Jean. I can understand why she forgot to use her blinker. She’s a little preoccupied this morning. You see, she’s waiting on a phone call from her doctor’s office about that test they did last week. Seems to her like it’s taking forever.” Or, “Oh, you mean Fred in that nice little silver sports car? He’s trying to make it to his second job on time today. His boss is a slave driver and has warned him for the last time not to show up at all if he’s showing up late.” And, “That’s Darlene. She’s out looking for apartments that she can afford for her and her 3 young children. Her husband left last month and cleaned out the checking account. It’s going to be rough on them for the next little bit.”
There’s a story in every car. I’m afraid we can get so wrapped up in our own stories that we forget everybody has their own story as well and the fact God is just as intimately familiar with theirs as He is with ours. Having compassion toward and patience with others doesn’t lessen the importance or significance of our own personal story. Quite the contrary, it adds more value than you can ever imagine.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self. (uh-oh)
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,” (ahem…)
Doesn’t fly off the handle, (ouch!)
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, (how many strikes do I get?)
Doesn’t revel when other grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message, commentary mine)