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“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)
Recently, I decided to reverse the usual route of my two-mile walk. Bored with walking down the hill to a traffic light, turning right and circling back, I turned at the first street instead. From the opposite direction, the yards looked different. A tree-fort that was well hidden from the direction I usually walked stood out now. I noticed swimming pools I’d never seen before.
It made me wonder how different my circumstances would appear if I looked at them from the other direction too. Instead of seeing the world through my human filters, I decided to make a concerted effort to see it through God’s perspective. God looks at us with His unconditional, loving eyes. He looks past our physical appearance. What if I were to view my annoyances through the eyes of God? Would they be molehills instead of mountains? Better yet, would they turn into anthills?
I decided to experiment for a day. When I drove to work, instead of grumbling about a driver who cut in front of me, I saw the person as a distracted sister in Christ. Was her mother terminally ill in a nursing home down the street? Perhaps her child lay in the hospital with an illness. I said a prayer for her, knowing God had her life in His hands.
At a store counter, a college-age youth gave me no smile, no sign he wanted to assist me despite the name tag that asked, “How can I help you today?” I wondered if he struggled with grades in school, had a load of homework and worked full time to financially help his single mother. I’ll never know, but God does. He knew the reasons the clerk’s attitude needed a lift. As I walked away, I prayed God would bring him relief from the challenges he faced.
Usually slow service at lunch irritates me. The one-day experiment made me look at the waiter through God’s eyes. He juggled many tables. Some customers growled at him for the slowness of the food. There was a wedding ring on his hand. He dealt with complaining customers and worked on his feet to provide for his family. I prayed that the kitchen would run smoother, make his job less stressful and then prayed for his family. Once again, God knew their needs and issues. I could only pray and tip enough to compensate for light tips from complainers at other tables.
God chose to place these individuals before me on my experimental day. Seeing each of them through His eyes not only made my day pleasant, it kept my focus on His kingdom rather than the little annoyances.
In Samuel 16:7 we see that God graciously looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance. I must do the same to keep in alignment with His commandments. Now, when I’m cut off in traffic or scowled at by a service person, I look beyond the outward appearance. Each day presents me with opportunities to show God’s grace. A one-day experiment changed me for a lifetime.
Questions: Who has God placed on your path this day that needs His grace? How does God see these people compared to our limited view?