You look down into a face. It’s dirty, snotty, serious. Surrounding the face is a mess of hair. You know lice may be in that hair. And who knows where the rubber boats they wear have been. Probably running through animal manure or worse. Their clothing has dirt on it. This is what hits your senses. It is what is sent to your brain to be interpreted and notify you about what you are seeing.
So what are you seeing? A dirty, snotty kid? A potential source of diseases? The possibility of getting lice?
In addition to your first glance you see that they are not sitting down. No, they are walking around getting into all your craft supplies and going off to see what the other teams are doing. In general they are being a distraction to the other children.
Now what do you see? A nuisance? A child with ADHD? A menace?
All too often we see people by what they are doing and not who they are. We see them as the thing getting in the way of our plan, messing up our things, taking our times. We see them in light of who we are and what we want.
This is not how Jesus saw people. He saw them for who they are and how God sees them.
It it becomes evident how you see them by how you respond. Do you send them away? Or do you grab them in a loving embrace and place them in your lap, regardless of the chance for getting lice or dirt on your clothes?
God can protect you from diseases. Lice can be treated. Clothes can be washed. But that child’s soul may be headed for hell.
We must train ourselves to look at people and see souls. Souls that will live forever. Souls that are hurting, desperate, or lost. Souls that reflect God’s image.
“Whatsoever you do to one of the least of these my brothers you do to me.”
Do you see people as souls? As a chance to do something for Jesus? As a chance to impact eternity? Or do you see them as things that may be in your way or negatively affect you?
- We can train ourselves to see souls instead of people. Here are four suggestions on how.
- Pray for God’s eyes. He saw the really needs of people and He can help us see them two.
- Stop and look at each person. Look at their eyes. Notice what is unique about them.
Die to self. Oftentimes we see people based on what we want not who they are. A pastor I recently heard said, “What are you willing to sin against someone for?”
- Love people. Get out and start doing. Talk to people. Find out their story. Serve them. Nothing helps you see others better than understanding them and developing a bond of connection with the. As you do that you realize how much we are all the same, despite differences in culture, ethnicity, or dress.
Next time you pass someone or interact with them, will you stop to see them as a soul?