The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
― C.S. Lewis
It was over 20 years ago when our church community first saw me.
I mean really saw me.
The truth is Cornerstone was the first place outside my group of friends that viewed me as a person and not a troublemaker.
Two people in particular took the risk of seeing me and saying hi. One was a woman ten years my senior. She was inviting, charismatic, and unafraid to turn a stranger into a friend. Her hospitality and sincere interest in me ultimately set me on a course to full-time ministry. Though that friendship was only for a season, I’m forever grateful.
The other was Pastor Kyung. He invited me out to lunch after I volunteered with the Youth Ministry. That lunch became a place for him to ask unobtrusive questions about my life. He was genuinely curious to hear my story. I felt he was trustworthy so I did something different; I let my guard down and shared my story. I still remember him praying for me with tear-filled eyes, asking God to help me know that the Lord saw me.
Both of these individuals played an enormous role in my involvement in our community and my ability to pursue God’s purpose. Though I didn’t know it at the time, they were meeting a need I had: the need to be seen as Jesus saw me. Several decades later, I still remember the impact of them living out their faith.
I now know they were emulating the Master. Seeing people was something that Jesus did so naturally. He slowed down long enough to notice those around him.
He didn’t take a person, relationship, or moment for granted. He refused to categorize or pigeonhole people. Instead, He lived present among those around Him with an available and compassionate disposition.
Perhaps that’s why He frequently challenged those near Him to notice, to see, to truly see those around them. For it was in the house of a religious leader that Jesus asked His host, “Do you see this woman?” He challenged the one trained in the ways of God not to miss that those who love God, also love people, seeing them with kind curiosity, not condemnation.
This Lenten season is a great opportunity to be curious about those around us. To consider how Jesus might see everyone around us. As we do, we may find ourselves developing a loving, gentle curiosity...
Towards those closest to us.
Towards those we work with.
Towards those we see everyday at the local coffee shop.
If we listen, we may hear the Lord asking, “Do you see them?”
If Jesus is asking, we may not just discover a paradigm shift, we may experience the kind of heart change only the eyes of faith can provide.
For one thing is certain, “Jesus is the one who sees fully and yet loved completely. That assurance is the rare gift in His question.”
—Jesus is the Question