So much of our world revolves around what we can see.
If someone tells us something they saw, we don’t quite believe them until we can see it, too. “Let me see!” and “Show me!” are common responses. Or even, “No way. Really? I don’t believe you.”
When we see someone on the street we automatically assume things about them based on their appearance. Based on what we can see.
Why? Why are we so quick to base our perceptions of right and wrong, true and false, on what we can see (or cannot see, for that matter)? If we can see it, it must be real. If we can’t see it, it must be false.
I think of a lot of it is because seeing beyond physical vision takes time. It takes effort. It takes commitment and love. We’d rather be told what to believe than go and find out for ourselves. It’s easier to assume things about someone than to take the time to get to know them, befriend them, and serve them.
But what if there’s more to it than that? What do we miss by being unwilling to look beneath the surface?
Truth. Too often, we miss the Truth.
But, we protest, we can’t see Truth. And if Truth is God, we can’t see God, either.
I beg to disagree because of Someone named Jesus. Jesus became a man so that He might be incarnate love, hope, humility, wisdom, faith, truth, and so much more. In Him we see the perfect example of what real life looks like. Jesus never treated people based on their appearance. He looked at their hearts. He made friends with the poor and the sick. He made friends with tax collectors, who at that time were nasty people who cheated others into giving more money than was owed, just so they could collect the rest. He died for you and me, sinners with hearts as black as the ashes in hell. He loved us so much that He died for us, His friends, that we might have new life in Him and one day live with Him forever in paradise.
As humans we can never love in the same way that God loves us. His love is a perfect love, ours is imperfect. Yet we can strive to be more like Him, and follow Christ’s example.
Everyone has a story. And yes, sometimes a gut instinct is a perfectly normal and healthy reaction to an uncertain situation. But not all the time, and it is those other times that we often miss out on learning something beautiful.
So let’s really get to know others. Let’s befriend people, not because of what they look like, but because of who they are. Let’s serve people, not because of who we are, but because of who God is. Let’s love people, not because of anything we have done, but because Christ first loved us.
Let’s learn to see beyond what meets the eye.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV)