I’m at that age where I require reading glasses. I keep a pair handy in all the strategic places. I have a pair in the car. I have a pair next to the recliner… a pair on my desk at home… a pair in the kitchen… a pair on my bedside table. And of course, I have a pair (or two) at work. I keep them in my desk drawer. Here’s my morning routine. As soon as I arrive in my office, I fire up my computer and while it is booting-up, I reach for my glasses. And each morning, I take out a special lens-cleaning cloth and carefully wipe away all of the smudges so that I can start the day with a clean pair of glasses and clearer vision. It’s always amazing to me how dirty the lenses become during a day of typical use. I sometimes ask myself while cleaning the glasses, “How did I ever see anything clearly with these?”
I wish that I could clean my “life lenses” with the same ease. It happens to us all… slowly, subtly, and steadily. Over time our view of the world gets a little jaded. We begin to perceive the world around us with distortion. We begin to look at things through the lens of past perceptions and experiences where opinions, biases, and even prejudices quickly smudge our vision. We no longer see the world with fresh eyes but with suspicion, anger, hatred, and even regret. We no longer have the capacity to see the humanity and worth of every person. We no longer have the capacity to see to face of Christ in every person we encounter. We no longer have the capacity to see others through the lens of Christ’s compassion, grace, and tender mercy.
We’ve even lost the ability to see ourselves with the proper perspective. For some of us, we see only our failures and mistakes when we look at our image reflected in the mirror. For others of us, we only see what we want to see, which forces us to ignore the changes we need to make in our lives. We see a distorted image of self-importance and self-perfection. Both ways of looking at self, blind us to the realities around us. One view causes us to think too little of ourselves, while the other view causes us to think too highly.
We no longer see anything clearly anymore through our clouded eyes and harsh opinions. We’ve lost sight of a better world that Christ hopes we will one-day claim as His. So how do we change our perceptions, our outlook, and our view of others? Can we wipe off the life lenses and see things differently? Is there a special cloth that can cleanse our eyes, refresh our minds, and open our hearts? The simple answer is no… there is no quick fix or magic eraser. Most of us have spent years layering our prejudices, our attitudes, and our opinions. It’s foolish to think that we can remove our cataracts with one simple operation. It takes time to see the world differently. It takes times to see with the perception of Jesus. It takes times to change the human heart.
It all begins with the confession that we need better vision. I remember denying for several years the fact that I needed reading glasses. I didn’t want to admit that was getting older and not seeing things with the clarity that I desired. It’s hard for all of us to admit that none of us see with perfect clarity. We all have a little distortion when we gaze upon others. But we can start to heal, to change, and to see differently. Some of us need to spend way less time on Social Media. If you find yourself getting angry every time you log-on, it’s probably better to step away. Caustic comments made by others can damage your viewpoint. Some of us need to rethink relationships. Paul said that “bad company corrupts good character” (I Cor. 15:34). When you surround yourself with only people who look like you, think like you, vote like you, and worship like you… you limit your outlook tremendously. Some of us need to rethink how we engage the world. I have found that people who learn to give themselves away, tend to see the world differently. They find value, warmth, and meaning in the relationships where they judge less and love more.
It’s time to wipe away the smudges. The Spirit of Christ within you demands that you see the world with fresh eyes… compassionate eyes… respectful eyes… peaceful eyes…His eyes.
- Dr. Jon Roebuck, Executive Director, Charlie Curb Center for Faith Leadership