What Do You See?

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. – Matthew 9:9

 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. – Matthew 14:14

There is a common failure amongst men that has a great effect on society. We do not see people as Christ saw them. Sadly, often we do not even see them. We make the mistake of thinking that we are looking at them when, in reality, what we are doing is something far different. There are many examples in Scripture that reveal to us how Jesus looked at people. Jesus had the ability to look at an individual, such as Matthew who was an unpopular tax collector, and see his potential as well as reach him personally. Jesus also had the ability to look at a mass of people and, while caring for them collectively, see their needs individually. The fact that Jesus was the perfect Son of God allowed Him to see things we cannot; however, we can do a better job of following His example and do our best to truly be compassionate toward people.

I am afraid we fail in seeing the needs of men because we fail to see the man.


Let me explain some things that we do instead of looking at people.

We look down at people.

Sometimes, we confuse pity and compassion. There is a difference. Compassion sees people and cares about their hurts, pains, or misfortunes. When the Scripture tells us that Jesus had compassion on the people, it means that He saw their needs. He did not look down on them because they had a need. That would be pity, which is only seeing someone as being a lesser person. Do we look at people how Christ did, or do we look down on them as being lesser people?

We look up at people.

One of the mistakes being made today is that we look up at those in leadership not at them. Leaders should be given respect and used as an example. However, the greatest leaders are still imperfect men. The moment we look up at men, we set ourselves up for failure and disappointment. We should look at them for their strengths. We should look at them for their character. We should look at them for their integrity. When we look up at them, we will be disappointed. Remember, only Christ is a perfect example.

We look around people.

Most of us are so busy that we are looking at the next task in front of us rather than at the people who are in front of us. We are looking at the opportunity rather than at the people who are part of the opportunity. We are looking at the work rather than looking at the people whom we are to serve. We look at people as being statistics rather than being eternal souls. We must guard ourselves from becoming so busy in ministry that we look around people who are the ministry rather than looking at the people to whom we are ministering.

We look through people.

I hate the words “I see right through that person.” What is really being said is, “I am judging that person.” People who we hear make this statement are exposing themselves. They are making judgments based upon their perception of what a person really is. Look at people for what they are. Take them at face value. Let a person’s words and actions define him, not our perception of his words and actions. We too quickly judge another whom we have never met or have never taken the time to get to know.

We look over people.

It is the least obvious person who, oftentimes, God uses the most. Jesus did not look over people. He saw the potential of every person He met. He did not see a maniac at Gadara, but He saw a man in his right mind. He did not see a man with leprosy; He saw man who had been cleansed. He did not see a woman with an issue of blood; He saw a woman who had been healed. He did not see a lady caught in the act of adultery; He saw someone who was forgiven. Do not look over people. We never know how God may use them. We never know how God may use us to help them.

We look under people.

Oh, how sad it is that we see the pit from whence people came rather than the mountain they are climbing! We focus on their fall rather than their rise from the fall. May God help us to stop looking at where people have been and to see instead where God is taking them. This is where looking down, looking around, looking through, and looking over people often reveals itself. It is sad that all some Christians can see in their minds is the pit from where a person has come, not the promise they have in Christ. We should be praying for and cheering along others, if we truly see them, instead of looking at the problems they have overcome.

There is a great need for love today. Christ set the standard because He loved them as they were. People did not need to prove themselves before He loved them. He did not look down, nor up, nor around, nor through, nor over, nor under; He looked at them and saw them for what they were, and yet He loved them still.

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by pastor greg neal

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