by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2012
During a free afternoon on our mission trip, our hosts escorted our team through the local Mayan market to take in another aspect of the culture. We meandered through the streets on our way to the pizzeria for lunch. Through a break in the buildings, I noticed two little girls sitting in a grassy area facing a view of the city downhill. My photographic eye saw a beautifully framed shot capturing an intimate moment between these children at play. As my hands reached for my camera, one of the missionary leaders walked up to me and commented that it was not uncommon to see the local people relieving themselves in public. Embarrassed at my misinterpretation of the scene, I scurried away to catch up with the rest of my group. Things were not what they first appeared to be.
I admit that I have difficulty with those optical illusion pictures. You know the ones where you have to squint and tilt your head just right in order to see an image within an image. After the eye gathers the information, the brain instantly applies a meaningful, cultural interpretation to the data. If the mind misses the cue that something is not quite right and does not go back to re-check this visual deception, the first impression of the image becomes fixed.
Jesus didn’t have this problem. He was able to see beyond the initial picture and discern a different aspect to the situation. “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT) In John 4:1-15, Jesus engaged a Samaritan woman to draw water from a well. At first glance, the encounter depicted a normal physical activity of life. However, Jesus clearly saw beyond the temporal sustenance of water to the woman’s greater need for an eternal quenching of her spiritual thirst.
Are you struggling with seeing others through the eyes of Jesus? “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NLT)
KESHER Prayer (connection): “And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw…” (2 Kings 6:17a NIV) Lord, I humbly come before you today to ask you to correct my visual deception. Allow me to really see the people I encounter on this mission trip as you see them. Give me wisdom to interpret that the custom official’s grumpy attitude is the result of a quarrel he had earlier with his wife. When my team member is quiet and standoffish, allow me to understand that she is homesick. Show me that the local people who glare and sometimes swear at me are outwardly rejecting you in me, but inwardly they have a great need to know you. Thank you for being faithful to finish what you have started in me! Amen.