In today’s fast-paced world it is clear to see that many people’s priority number one is, well, themselves. Our culture has programmed us to focus on “me”: on my life and what I can do to get ahead in the world. But as a Christian we are to do just the opposite of that. It is not about me but about everyone else. Christ told us to “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Mark 12:31), and it even goes beyond loving our neighbor, but also our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). But what a challenge that is isn’t it?
So I began to think more about this recently, and I came to the conclusion that the best way, I feel, to do this is to look at the world through the eyes of Christ. Well, at least the best I can. I know that I can never see the world exactly as Christ does, but I feel it is very important to get as close as I can. If I put on the eyes of Christ every single day, and view the world as though I were looking through His eyes and His perspective, it reveals a really different scene than what the world has programmed us to see.
Take, for example, the beggar who is begging for change at the street corner. The world has programmed us to look down on him because he is at the bottom of the “ladder of success.” But how would Christ see Him? It just so happens that we have an example of how Christ treated beggars in Mark:
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus, his disciples, and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus) was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many people sternly told him to be quiet, but he started shouting even louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 So Jesus stopped and said, “Call him!” So they called the blind man and told him, “Have courage! Get up. He’s calling you.” 50 He threw off his coat, jumped up, and went to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man told him, “Rabbouni, I want to see again.” 52 Jesus told him, “Go. Your faith has made you well.” At once the man could see again, and he began to follow Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:46–52; See also Matthew 20:29–34; Luke 18:35–43 )
Just as the people told the beggar to be quiet, so it seems most of us treat beggars today. However, Jesus summons him over and begins speaking with him, and through the beggar’s faith, Christ heals him of his blindness.
We don’t know what the situation is regarding the beggar we see on the side of the road. Maybe he lost his job in this hard economy and, with that, everything he owned, or maybe he lost everything he had through a natural disaster. He could’ve just made bad choices in life and created that path himself. But instead of driving by pretending he isn’t there, or shouting at him to “get a job” or whatever people may shout at them, we, as Christians, should take the time to stop and talk to him. It could be an opportunity to lead someone to faith in Christ, and we should do all that we can to try and help that person. It may not even be much, just something so simple as buying them a meal at a fast-food restaurant, but it could plant a seed. And the examples don’t stop there.
There are many situations throughout our everyday hustle and bustle where we cross paths with a neighbor or an enemy. Maybe there is someone at your place of employment that you don’t like because you’re both competing for that open position. Or you could come across an aggravated cashier at the grocery store on your way home from work. Again, we don’t know the situations of these people, but we do know how we are supposed to treat them: “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). It may be hard, but think about how much love and compassion Christ showed for us by becoming man and suffering at the hands of men to save us from the curse of death. If Christ treated us like most of the world treats others, we wouldn’t even have a speck of hope for eternal life!
Our world has created too many stereotypes; just as the beggar above or people with tattoos (I say that because I have tattoos and have seen how people are judged because of them). Surprisingly, usually any one person to some other person is often automatically put into some category. But why is it that the world has formed people to be this way? Why is it that as soon as someone sees a stranger, that stranger is usually placed into some class, or under some stereotype, without even getting to know them? I, myself, have been guilty of it many times in the past, and it is something I have been praying and working on. It reminds me of that old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
As a Christian, however, we should avoid being stereotypical at all costs. We have to remember that in the beginning God created mankind in “His own image.” Each and every human being has been created by God and is special in God’s eyes. He formed us from dust and we are the only creation that He directly breathed life into. So if we are to put on the eyes of Christ, then we need to remember to look at each and every person as being the same as we are in God’s eyes. Regardless of how they dress, where they work, what they look like, what race they are, etc., they were created by God and are no better or worse than we are.
Think about in 1 Samuel when Samuel is to anoint David as the new king; he tells God that Eliab, one of David’s brothers, is very nice looking aesthetically, however, God says “Look not on his appearance, nor on his stature, for I have rejected him; for God sees not as man looks; for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (16:7; LXX). To see through the eyes of Christ means we are to look at the heart, not the outward appearance.
So next time you see a beggar, stop and think about what Christ would do. Or the next time someone makes you angry, smile and remember “a submissive answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). They just might be having the worst day of their lives, yet if you make a kind loving gesture, it could completely change their attitude. Christ gave us the command to love one another, and the best way to do that is to look at the world through His eyes.