What is the first thing you notice when you see someone? Their smile? Their eyes? Their clothes? Their hair? Well, something interesting happened this week that I wanted to share that made me ask this question.
I was at the salon and looked out the window and I immediately saw a young woman riding her bike past the salon. She was wiping tears, weeping almost uncontrollably as she tried to maneuver her bike. I said my stylist, “Oh, that woman is crying! I hope she is alright.” My heart went out to her immediately and wondered what had caused her tears. As she rode by another window, my stylist said, “Wow! Look at the color of her hair!” I replied, “I didn’t even notice her hair; I just saw she was crying really hard.” My stylist said, “I didn’t even notice she was crying because I was looking at her hair!”
I began to run that experience through my mind for the next 1/2 hour. I will bet if a fashion person saw her, she/he would notice her clothes and a bike enthusiastic would notice the type of bicycle he/she was riding.
What do you see first in someone? Do you see the outward appearance or see them as more than the exterior? I must confess that before I was called to a ministry to hurting people, I was judgmental about people. Kids on the street with piercings and tattoos and Mohawk haircuts. People sitting by the side of the road begging for money. A woman with inches of makeup on. An arrogant man. I was only looking at the outside of them and not thinking about what was inside, what their past was or the pain they were filled with.
“Man look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Sam. 16:7b
We may not look at a troubled teen and see the horrid abuse they have lived through or utter neglect of parents on drugs or alcohol. We may not look at the person sitting by the side of the road with bags and a dog and see the devastating life they have led, poor choices, or mental illness they suffer with. Think before you say, ” Get a job!” We may see the woman who tries so hard to adorn herself so she looks beautiful, may be a woman who has never felt pretty or valuable in her life and this is her way of trying to feel valued.
We may see the arrogant man, who might even be our boss, who was never validated by his parents, was beaten down and decided he was going to control his world, no matter what it took. We don’t see the hurt. Jesus does.
If we think about it, none of these people were born to be this way. It was the life they have suffered through that has brought them to this place. They are covered with the chains of their past and maybe generations behind them. Actually, can we admit that we ALL have “stuff”?
Our response? Love as the Lord has loved us. Be an extension (with wisdom) of the hands of Jesus. Take the time to REALLY see them as the Lord sees them. Maybe take time out of our “normal” life and volunteer to help them see the light of Jesus.
“Love one another as I have loved you.” – Jesus