It began with a question I was asked.
Actually, it was a question one character asked another in my current work-in-progress. See, sometimes God’s questions hide in plain sight. Often, so do his answers. Now, being a writer, I have discovered this amazing phenomenon where my characters or my stories serve to extract the things from inside of me that I don’t understand. They also help bring clarity and help me to shift my perspective a notch so I can see my current situation in a new light.
Often my character has to see it, has to understand it before I do. I write the words and the comprehension comes later to my own mind, my own heart. If you are not a writer, you may not hear God speak to you in this way. But I’m sure there is something that you do frequently that is revealing to you the truth that you are searching for. Just dig a bit deeper—it’s right there under the surface.
So, here was the question:
“When did you shut your eyes and begin looking at the wrong things?”
I typed this out in my story, and then I paused for a moment. And I realized that, through my own fingers, God just asked me that question. This is a loving question. This is a question that reveals the asker’s heart for the other person—that he doesn’t want her to stay where she’s at because he knows she is not free. She is bound by fear, overtaken by a wrong focus.
Jesus often answers our questions with a question of his own. Rhetorical, usually, but one that helps us evaluate the root of why we may be struggling, or of why we asked that question in the first place. I may ask, “why don’t I feel peace?” And he’ll reply with something like the question above.
When did you start looking at the wrong things?
There’s a lot to look at in this life. We are barraged with constant images all day long and into the night. Some in our minds, some through social media, some in the things we witness throughout our day, and some even in the mirror. I realized after typing out that question that lately I had been looking at some of the wrong things—I’m not talking about things that are sinful or wrong; I’m talking about my mind’s choice to focus on the things that were negative instead of remembering to look at the eyes of Jesus and see from his perspective.
For instance, think about when you look in the mirror. It’s so easy to pick out your flaws. Most of us probably do this every single time without even being consciously aware of it. Our actual purpose for looking in the mirror is, more often than not, to search out the flaws so that we can either fix them, cover them up, or remind ourselves that our image is doomed to imperfection. Therefore the majority of the time, we are only looking at what’s wrong. We don’t choose to focus on the beautiful parts of our faces or bodies. We see the blemishes and then we go around thinking we’re ugly. Often our minds take this further and eventually tell us we’re unworthy of being loved.
See how powerful what we choose to look at can be?
We so often do not see the full picture. It’s like having blinders on. We see something negative and then decide to block out everything else from our view and build a belief system around that negative thing.
When did you shut your eyes to beauty and truth?
When I find myself with a lack of peace or joy I try to stop and evaluate where I went off, and most of the time it has to do with what I’m looking at or not looking at. I can easily view a difficult or irritating circumstance and let it rob my peace or joy without a second thought. But where were the eyes of Jesus in all that? When was it that I lost sight of his face, his grace, his goodness? In looking at the negative circumstance, I shut my eyes to the anchor of truth found in God—the Almighty Creator and Father who never changes and whose power is unmatched.
The shifting of our eyes can happen in a moment. A situation or a flaw blinds us and we automatically begin to view everything and everyone through eyes of judgment. Because all we can see is that plank that is blocking our full view.
Remember the illustration Jesus used of the plank and the speck? First remove the plank in your own eye and then you can see clearly to remove the speck in your brother’s? Now, I understand Jesus was probably referring to sin here, but the plank can be anything—sin, a wrong perspective, an offense, a judgment against ourselves or a situation. When we remove this plank of judgment, which is always something affecting the way we see ourselves, then we can view every situation and person around us with eyes of love and with a full perspective of God’s kindness and goodness. We won’t be pointing fingers anymore.
So whether it’s your sin that you’re looking at, a hard/impossible situation, a flaw in your character or your body, a shortcoming, a worry, or someone’s opinion of you, shift your eyes a notch and let the light back in. Look at the full picture, and see that God always comes out victorious. Look at his eyes again—they don’t judge, so neither shall we judge. Not ourselves, anyone else, or anything that happens.
In closing, I’d like to point out that the news and the media sure has a lot to say and report about what’s going wrong in the world. In fact, the majority of what is broadcast in our news is negative. But when you start looking at other sources, you begin to see the hope and the incredible things that God is doing around the world, and I really think that trumps all the negative. It doesn’t lessen the pain of a broken world, but it does offer hope for healing and restoration. We are not lost! All over the world, God is touching multitudes of people, turning hearts to him, setting destinies right.
Friends, let us not shut our eyes to the light.
Stories like the one depicted in the video below are happening all over the Earth. People like this are rising up all over the place and allowing God to give them his perspective, which in turn is affecting countless numbers of people. It is rare to see these stories on the news, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Let it give you hope. We are not defined by what is pushed on us by others or by what we see around the planks in our eyes. We are not owned by the darkness in this world.