I've been thinking a lot lately about vision and focus, and what we see. It’s amazing how we can see some things, and not see other things that are right in front of us.
Several years ago we were looking for a new car for our family. We were trying to pick one that would fit our family well. One day I saw a model of car I’d never noticed before. I saw it was small, but had seven seats. It looked just right for us. After I saw that car, suddenly I was seeing it everywhere we went! I was amazed, because I’d never noticed it before. I realise that there weren’t suddenly more of those cars on the road, but my observation had changed.
I enjoy playing ‘hidden-object’ games in my free time. I’ve found that, the first time I look at a picture, I have a hard time finding objects when I’m just given the name of the object to find, but, if I choose to use a hint, and see the picture, suddenly it’s much easier to find the object. And once I’ve seen the object, I find it quicker each time.
Have you ever looked at a blotch on the wall and suddenly it looks like an object to you? Or maybe you’ve seen the ink-blot tests. Different people see different things in those random spots. Once I see a spot as something, I keep seeing the same object every time I look at it.
I’ve discovered that we tend to see what we’re looking for. The same is true with seeing the good or bad character traits of others. When we focus on something that bothers us in another person, suddenly that’s all we can see. And we keep seeing things that reinforce our negative view of that person. When that’s the case, we may begin to tear that person down with our words. But 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us that we should encourage one another and build each other up. In order to do that, we need to look for the good in each other. As Romans 15:7 says, ‘Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God’. Christ accepted us as we are, with our faults, and encourages us to grow in Him. He doesn’t leave us in that state, but He accepts us as we are, in that place.
As we keep our eyes on Jesus, He’ll help us to see others through His eyes. If we do this, the things of this world won’t be able to cause us to stumble. Let me encourage you today to focus on Jesus.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to refocus on You, that You would be the first thing I see wherever I look, and that You would let me see others through Your eyes. Forgive me for the times I’ve judged others and only seen the negative things in them. Teach me how to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.
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