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Learning to See Others with the Eyes of Christ

Jerusalem
During Lent 2022, I spent spiritual reading and prayer time exploring how I relate to other human beings. After replaying various encounters, I realized that often I just look right past people. At times, I think something ill of another the first time I encounter them.  I can’t seem to get past my bias of a person, whether it’s their appearance, mannerisms, or tone of voice. Pretty soon I reduce a person to the one little thing that annoys me. I knew I had to turn my focus to what God sees in others. Where did I start?

I went to the source and started to study the life and teachings of Jesus. He is the only perfect example of how to live and see others as God does. He showed charity to all men which is evidenced in his life, teachings, and the stories of his encounters in the Scriptures.

My favorite story is found only in Saint Luke’s Gospel–the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10). Zacchaeus was portrayed in the Bible as a sinful tax collector who was despised by the crowd. He was also shown as someone who, despite his height and inability to see Jesus, found his way to Jesus by climbing a sycamore tree. However, he also was seen as the person that Jesus demanded to stay at his house. I relate to Zacchaeus and also relate to the crowd. There are times in my life when I tend to be judgmental by stereotyping people based upon worldly standards. Yet there are moments where I know I have sinned, and I need to repent my sin by talking to Jesus. Jesus must come to my house. He is the only person that sees me and my true nature.

In my daily prayers, I began to ask God to help me see people as He sees them. I asked him for help in being more patient and loving with those around me. It was a freeing sensation to take the focus off of myself and to use God’s perspective to see them and their situation rather than how it affects me. I had to be kinder, more loving, and more forgiving.

What I found to be most difficult in this transformational process was not to focus on outward appearances. Our world focuses on things we can only physically see–what people wear, what ethnicity they are, how many worldly things they have, etc. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God counsels Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” God focuses on the inward. He sees people’s hearts, with all their heartaches and pains. God looks for and SEES the good in others. What He sees, I must see also.

All people matter to God. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they’ve done, or even what they believe, or don’t believe. Jesus died for them. Jesus loves them. My goal now is to lock onto the eyes of those I encounter, even just for a few seconds. I view this as “knocking on the door” of the person. Only God knows where this will lead.

Blessings and peace to you as we journey together in Encountering Christ in Word, Liturgy, Charity, and Community.

A Saint Monica Sojourner

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