I think I need to clean my windshield so to speaks. You know how it is, your windshield will gradually get dirty and smudged, you can see fine and don’t notice, the dirt and such builds up slowly, you don’t notice too much because you can still see ok. Then, you take time when getting glass to clean the windshield and suddenly you see so much better. Details on signs, maybe you see houses along the street more clearly. I think, sometimes I need to remember to clean my spiritual and mental windshield to help me better see others more clearly and I believe I need to take time to see people more clearly before I determine my opinion.
I have thought a lot about how I tend to develop impressions of people, often within minutes of meeting them, usually without any good information about them. I see how they interact with me, watch their body language and listen to their words. I tend to believe that I am not different than almost everyone else in the world. I looked into it, researched it a bit and found out that, yes, that is the most normal behavior of a human. We tend to decide if we like or dislike someone based on a few seconds, or minutes maybe, interaction. Wrong to do so, but we are judging them, and doing so based on appearance, clothing, cleanliness, use of language (do they speak plainly, have an accent, good or poor vocabulary) and body language. Honestly, I tend to like most people initially or give the people I don’t like initially the benefit of the doubt. I give them an opportunity to let me like them if you will before I pass judgement is one way to say it.
There are those people, who I liked from the moment I met them, for a variety of reasons. They treated me well, they spoke and acted nicely and yes, I confess, appearance often has some impact on my opinion. Some that I liked initially I found later to be, despite first impressions, or possibly four hundredth, that they were far from what I thought. The better I know them, the less I like them. This can be for many reasons. I see them treat someone else badly or they treat me poorly. I find that some are just meaner and more unkind than I thought. I find some are rude, selfish, inconsiderate, condescending, overbearing, get angry at the smallest slight, are unforgiving, etc. Many reasons for one to become unlikable.
Other people, the few I have disliked at first, if I give them a chance, I find out that they are actually much better people than I realized. They are kind, gracious, generous, quick to help, slow to anger, quick to forgive. The list is extensive. But, looking back, many of those I chose to not like at first have become better friends than the ones I thought were more likeable initially.
I know sometimes the people are dirty, maybe that was why I didn’t like them. However, if I give them the chance I may find that they just got off work and were on way home or maybe they had car problems and had to work on their car. Once I met someone at a gas station, a stop and go with convenience store, that was filthy, mud and dirt on his clothes, hands, and shoes. He was standing by the door. At first I assumed he was a beggar, waiting for a handout or something. Then, a friend came out, clean with clean clothes. Before my friend and spoke he handed a drink of some sort and asked if he was going to be able to help him get his car later. Then, my friend saw me, we spoke, he introduced me to the other guy. Who, as we spoke I learned that despite appearance, he was a really nice guy and not a beggar but had a good job, nice pick up truck who had gone to help my friend when he got his car stuck. The new friend (yes, we got to be pretty good friends) John, had gotten out in the dirt and mud to try to push Bill’s (the other guy) car out of the ditch. Bill had simply sat in the car and let John get dirty and muddy. Hmmmm, interesting is it not? Then, I looked a little bit closer, the clothes were not tattered thrift shop clothing but was, based on my thoughts then about what else I knew, pretty expensive clothes. Not a suit, but nice slacks and dress type shirt. I had been SO WRONG! Now, that is a little more extreme than most instances I judged someone wrong, I used appearance to judge initially and have done so at other times as well.
People can be good, bad, or somewhere in between, but some I almost didn’t give the chance to let me find out. Obviously, I am being judgmental. I know I need to change that and I am trying to do so. I will be looking in the Bible to see what He has to teach me about judging people. I say judging but I don’t mean regarding their sins or righteousness but on their overall quality as a person.
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
Exactly what I expected, I do need to look at the heart of a person, not the outward. Humanly, this is not an easy thing, because a lot of our perceptions of the world around us comes from what we see. I need to ask Him to give me more wisdom on seeing the heart and not the package it comes in.
And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. Mark 8:23-25
I know the passage this came from is relating to when Jesus healed a man’s vision. They say blind, but the man has some vision but it is not clear or sharp, in fact blurry which sounds like what we may call legally blind. The healing would be similar to now when someone has bad eyesight and gets the surgery so they won’t have to wear glasses. I had that surgery and the difference is amazing. The change from blurry vision is dramatic. If Christ can heal this man’s physical vision, He can definitely heal my spiritual vision.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Matthew 7:16
I have also known people that I liked, maybe it was someone I thought was a good friend that seemed to turn on me. I have experienced that. Of course, when I found out differently, these were the ones that hurt the most to find I was wrong about. I need to be more discerning. I need to look more at the fruits they gather, at the works they do. Let their actions show who they truly are and not be so quick to decide.
Today, I am going to pray for better vision, better spiritual vision a more discerning heart. That He help me learn to see others as Christ would see them and less with my human mind. It surely isn’t easy to change one’s own nature, but with the Lord’s help and guidance I am making my way to be more like Him.
I praise you Jesus for seeing something better in me than I saw myself, that you forgave me my sins and drew me to you. I pray God that you help clean my spiritual and mental windshield, that you open my spiritual eyes to the true person. Teach me to see people as you would have me see them and not from my human perspective. Jesus, I thank you for your love, forgiveness, guidance and patience. I have a long way to go but with You by my side, showing my the way, I am making progress. I pray Lord that you help my family and others to see you as they should, to see themselves and their need for you. Draw them closer and closer to you Jesus.
Thank you for bearing with me as I learn. If you feel it would help others please share. Until next post, may Christ guide and protect you.