It’s a great quote, but I have difficulty with it because my vision is not at all like God’s. I do not see others the way God sees them.
Max Lucado sums up well my problem:
“We condemn a man for stumbling this morning, but we didn’t see the blows he took yesterday. We judge a woman for the limp in her walk but cannot see the tack in her shoe. We mock the fear in their eyes but have no idea how many stones they have ducked or darts they have dodged. Are they too loud? Perhaps they fear being neglected again. Are they too timid? Perhaps they fear failing again. Too slow? Perhaps they fell the last time they hurried. You don’t know. Only one who has followed yesterday’s steps can be their judge.” (In the Grip of Grace, p. 40)
God consistently sees more in each person than I see.
In the book “Chasing Fireflies,” Charles Martin tells the story of an orphaned boy named Chase who has been through a mess of trouble in his life. A man called “Unc” cares for him while authorities try to locate any family Chase might have. One night Unc teaches Chase a lesson about Chase’s value (and our value) in God’s eyes:
“A few minutes later, Unc walked up next to me and hung his arms across the fence railing. In his hand he held an empty mason jar with holes punched in the lid. He stood there a long time turning the jar. Inside, a single lightning bug fluttered off the sides of the glass. Every five or six seconds, he’d light his lantern. Unc turned the jar in his hand. ‘Scientists say that these things evolved this way over millions of years.’ He shook his head. ‘That’s a bunch of bunk. I don’t think an animal can just all-of-a-sudden decide it wants to make light grow out its butt. What kind of nonsense is that? Animals don’t make light.’ He pointed to the stars. ‘God does that. I don’t know why or how, but I’m pretty sure it’s not chance. It’s not some haphazard thing he does in his spare time.’
“He looked at me, and his expression changed from one of wonder to seriousness, to absolute conviction. ‘Chase, I don’t believe in chance.’ He held up the jar. ‘This is not chance, neither are the stars.’
“I was hurting inside, and the streaks shining on my face didn’t scratch the surface at telling how much.
“He tapped me gently in the chest. ‘And neither are you. So, if your mind is telling you that God slipped up and might have made one giant mistake when it comes to you, you remember the firefly’s butt.’” (p. 182-183)
Thus I come back to Dostoyevsky’s challenge, “To love someone means to see him as God intended him [or to see her as God intended her],” and I pray that God will help me with it.
—Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.