Thursday, April 20, 2017

Have we become blind?

"The precision of naming takes away from the uniqueness of seeing."
 (Pierre Bonnard)

If you haven't noticed, we spend a great deal of our lives putting "names" or "labels" on things. In school, you get a red mark in the form of either a letter or numeric "grade" - labeling the work you have performed as either "passing" or "failing". In the sixties, those with long hair, loose fitting clothing, and wearing sandals were labeled "hippies". Folks who are comfortable taking up signs of protest of the lawn of our capital buildings are labeled "radicals". Still others who are slow to learn, unable to integrate into society, or below a certain "intelligence quotient" are labeled as "backward", "disabled", or even something worse. Names and labels do a great deal to take away from us seeing the uniqueness in each individual and I don't believe God get much glory when we use them!

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.  (Ecclesiastes 7:1 NLT)

There are some names or labels we might want to carry in this lifetime - like that of a good parent, excellent student, positive contributor, law-abiding citizen, etc. While these are what we have come to appreciate as "good labels", it doesn't negate the fact that there is an "opposite" state suggested in the use of these "good labels". In other words, there are bad or poor parents, underachiever students, those who take more than they give, etc. So, not all the "good labels" have a "value" to them. In fact, it matters not what you think of me, or what I think of you - it matters only how God sees us!

In God's eyes, he sees Jesus when he sees us. He sees the finished work of the cross - not so much the "work in progress" our lives seem to be. He doesn't "label" us as good or bad - he sees us as his creation and something he desires above all other living things. It was that desire that drove Christ to the cross. It was that desire that culminated in him rising from the grave three days later. It was that desire that seated him in heavenly places, preparing a place for each of us to dwell right there alongside him, ruling and reigning as he intended from the very beginning of time.

God sees sin in our lives, but he doesn't label us as "sinner". In fact, he made a way for sin to no longer have a place in us, so that we could live out from under the weight of that sin. He sees the outcome or end result of sin's effect - he doesn't place that weight there! We might judge others by the things we think make them worthy or valued in society. God "judges" us by what he sees in each of us as we are formed in the womb, tenderly knit together, and created in the image of our Creator. He sees us in all our uniqueness and loves us in spite of how others see us (or even how we see ourselves).

As Bonnard said, to label is to limit our seeing - we stop seeing the moment we put a label on something or someone. We no longer look for any other evidence. We believe the label! The outcome of that practice is that we soon begin to stop living to our full potential in Christ and we stop looking for that same potential in others. Rather than placing that label upon someone maybe we need to remember all God sees is Christ in us - the hope of glory! Just sayin!