Seeing Through Heaven’s Eyes
I periodically need to remind myself of the value that God places on other human beings, even when I don’t know the other person or when he or she is very different from me. But to be honest, that’s not natural for me to do.
Every once in a while, though, I get a reminder, like reading about an incident that occurred in North Carolina in 1995. Ten year-old Lawrence Shields was picking through a bucket of debris in a gemstone mine when a rock piqued his interest. “I just liked the shape of it,” he said.
When he knocked off the dirt and grit that were clinging to it, and as he rubbed it on his shirt to polish it up, he saw that this was much more than just a rock. It turned out to be a sapphire. And not just any sapphire — a 1,061-carat sapphire!
Here’s the point: when we look at other people, we tend to focus on the outside, which is soiled by sin. We see the rebellion or failure, the bizarre lifestyle or proud attitude, and we often overlook the real value that’s on the inside — where each one of us is a gem of incalculable worth, created in the image of almighty God.
We, as individuals, are so valued and loved that God was willing to pay the infinite price of his Son’s death to clean away our sin and restore us to himself.
So when you look at someone whose life has been thoroughly corrupted by sin, can you say to yourself, “Their life situation may be awful, but the image of God within them is awesome!” Can you look at the people you may have devalued because they’re different from you or poorer than you or less educated than you, and imagine the ultimate value that God attaches to them despite their circumstances?
It’s like one of my favorite songs, “In Heaven’s Eyes,” in which Phil McHugh pictured people as they appear to God and found no worthless losers and no hopeless causes. When we see people from God’s perspective, all of a sudden we have a new inspiration to treat them with the same dignity, respect, and honor that we desire for ourselves.
Does that sound naive? Maybe so. But apart from that divinely altered perception, I don’t have a chance of being obedient to Christ’s command that I love others as myself. It’s simply not going to happen.
That’s one reason why a motto of the church where I became a Christian is that people matter to God. All people. It’s a reminder to all of us that we need to see each other as having untold value in the eyes of Jesus.
This week's essay is drawn from "God's Outrageous Claims: Thirteen Discoveries that can Transform Your Life" by Lee Strobel.