What Do You See?
“…but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.”
-Acts 10:28 (ESV)
Johnny was a new student at his school. His parents had taken new jobs out in the suburbs far from his old home in the city. Johnny stood out in the crowd, and he was left alone more often than not. Johnny’s skin color was different than that of most of the students, and he also talked differently. He felt like he was in a foreign country even though he was only 50 miles from his old school. It wasn’t long before he started to despise going to school every day. “Everyone hates me there,” he would tell his folks. That certainly appeared to be true. Except for one boy…
In Scripture, we read about Peter: another man caught in a crossroads. He was raised to believe a certain way. Peter was a Jew, and the Gentiles and others not like him were not to be welcomed or befriended. But Jesus was teaching him something different. After walking with Jesus for three years, seeing Him hang out with the mess of society—people definitely NOT like Him or His disciples—Peter began to see a bigger picture.
They didn’t call Peter a “rock” for no reason, though. Maybe because he tended to be rocked headed at times. After He had already been resurrected and left earth, the Lord came to Peter in visions to let him know that no matter how he was raised or what he thought, no person was common or unclean (see Acts 10:1-33). This meant there was no room for racism, no room for discarding, no room for labeling. There was only room for love.
Back at school, this one outstanding boy, ironically named Pete, invited Johnny to spend some time with him at the park shooting hoops. Pete took the time to listen and learn more about Johnny and where he’d come from. They soon became friends, and Johnny made the basketball team. He learned that he should give his new school a chance, just like Pete did for him.
When it comes to your life, what do you see when you encounter people who aren’t like you? Is it easy to neglect them, push them away, or simply turn your back on them? Jesus always saw others as precious people created in His image. He viewed them with a godly perspective. True, we’re only human, but we are also called to see the world with His eyes. The Holy Spirit gives us this power, and through it, we are able to love with the strength He provides.
So, let me ask you again: What do you see when you encounter others in your world? It’s easy to label others as you see them, but, today, remember that the same God who created you, loves you and wants what is best for you also made that person. If your eyes cause you to judge prematurely, maybe you are looking at people through the wrong eyes. Try to see people as God sees them. This just might change how you think, act and respond to those around you.
1. When you meet someone of a different race or culture, what are your initial thoughts? What beliefs or traditions cause you to think that way?
2. Based on the passage from Acts (click below), how did spending time with Cornelius change the way Peter saw others?
3. Today, how can you begin to start seeing people with God’s eyes?
4. How will a Kingdom-perspective change you how you treat those who are different from you? How would that serve as a witness for Christ?
2 Corinthians 5:16