We see things differently. Right? We see something every day and then one day we see it in a whole new way. Sometimes one person sees - it is ugly, then another person thinks it is beautiful.
When my boys were very little they used to come to my bedroom every Saturday morning. One lie on my right and the other on my left. They always tease me that I have a big belly. We laughed and made jokes with each other. One morning their father asked them if they understand they both came out of Mom’s stomach. That’s why Mom’s stomach is little bigger. She carried each of you for nine months in her stomach before you born. Then the big stomach became a beautiful symbol of mother’s love.
We often judge by the outward appearance of things. But God can see it all. When God looks at a person, God sees not only their outward appearance but also their heart and soul. An outward appearance can hide a terrible heart and a dead soul. And no wonder Jesus called the Pharisees whited tombs full of dead men’s bones. They were well painted on the outside, but inside they were all dead.
In the same way, an ugly exterior can hide inner beauty to us. The story about my big stomach fooled my boys. But in reality, there was a beautiful love under my big stomach. And only God can see this love. God can see the beauty that is hidden to us by the surface of a person. And only God can also see the ugliness that our exteriors hide.
God sees things as they really are. God can see past the surface to the heart of a matter or a person. God can see the past and the future. And God’s vision is not clouded by a limited human view.
The problem is that our views are limited. We can only see the past, and the way we see it - is based on what we were told about it. Our vision doesn’t enter below the surface to the heart of matters or people. We often judge a book by its cover. When God tells us - otherwise we say, “But this is how I see it” and we fail to follow God’s direction.
God called Samuel to anoint a new king for Israel. Samuel went as directed to Jesse’s family. The oldest son is tall and strong and appears to be a good leader for the nation of Israel. But God says, “No, it’s not him. Do not look at his appearance ... for the Lord does not see as mortals see. Mortals see the outside but God sees into the heart.”
Seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. None of them were fit with God’s eyes. Samuel asked, “Are these all your sons?” Jesse said, “I have little David who is keeping the sheep while we are here to worship.” David was brought in. He was a good-looking boy. He is just a boy!
We all know David. Later he killed Goliath with just a sling and his faith. He grew up to be a great leader of Israel. He was the greatest of the Kings. So, God looked at David and saw the future King of Israel, a heart devoted to the Lord.
One day Jesus and his disciples came upon a blind man. They saw he was blind. Disciples had been taught the blind people was a punishment from God. Their prejudice clouded their vision as they saw a man who had sinned or maybe it was his parents who sinned.
But Jesus saw more. He saw a man of courage and strength. He saw a man of faith and integrity. So, Jesus healed the disciples’ blindness by giving the blind man sight. Then it became clear what Jesus saw. The Pharisees had the formerly blind man questioned and tried to scare and trick him. But he remained steadfast and honest. He bore witness to all that Jesus had healed him and given him his sight. The disciples saw only a blind man. Jesus saw a witness who only needed a testimony to give.
I am sure Jesus understood how the blind man felt. After all many people, could not see Jesus for who he was. Some looked at Jesus and saw someone who could be used to overthrow the Romans. Others looked at Jesus and saw only a wonder worker who could feed them. The Romans looked at Jesus and saw a troublemaker who looked nothing like a King.
The situation is the same today. Some look at Jesus and they see a good moral teacher. Other see at Jesus and say he is a religious leader. Some see at Jesus and say he is a prophet of God. But what do you see and say about Jesus? What do you see and say when you look at your fellow human beings? Do you see strangers, or children of God?
Most people judge by outward appearance. But we are not most people. We are Christians. We are people of God who can see all. Like my story about my boys, my big belly became a beautiful symbol of all mother’s love. God sees through the outward appearances and sees the heart. We need to pray that the power of the Holy Spirit would help us to see through the outside into the heart. Shalom and Amen.