A little look within
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. (2 Corinthians 5:16-20)
Do you know just how conscientious you have to be stop looking at the "surface stuff" in someone's life that you observe with the eye? It is easy to think you know the "real" someone just because you see them act a certain way or say certain things. We aren't really getting to know the "inner struggles" of a man or woman until we get beneath the surface. Surface-reads only tell us so much, don't they? Sometimes we just need to stop long enough to really recognize the heartache, reach out to the emptiness, and re-energize the weak. To do this, we have to look 'within'. Looking within gives us a different perspective, doesn't it? Look out from any window in your home and what might you see? Other homes, some landscaping, a fence or two, some cars, a bird, a neighbor's cat - infinite possibilities because even what seems "normal and customary" changes on the "outside" doesn't it? Now, go outside your home and look inside through the same window. What do you observe from that side? If you stand back a bit, you might just see a reflection of some of those things you saw when looking out, right? Get closer and you begin to see rooms, hallways, furnishings, and even maybe a few people. Why are those people there? Isn't it because someone let them in? Why are those furnishings arranged as they are? Isn't it because it meets some need of those who have to make use of them? We don't really know what is on the inside until we begin to get close enough to see more than a reflection of what is on the outside!
Try as I might, I cannot "convince" someone to change the way they are feeling, or to fill the emptiness of their lives with something which really makes a difference. I can set an example, but I cannot do the "convincing". You don't convince someone to enter or change, but you do convince them that what awaits them presents a pretty convincing argument that they SHOULD enter or embrace change. We look "inside" past the reflections we see on the outside of an individual and what we observe indicates to us they need something specific in their lives. We might even point it out. Remember, it is not our part to convince them TO change, but we can show them the possibilities of what change might look like by presenting an example for them to see in the way we "arrange" and "live out" our own lives! I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I got this wrong in my own life. I'd be looking INTO someone's life and then go about trying to rearrange their life for them. Only God really has the right to do this in another's life. Admit it, we don't like it when someone actually does this to us, so why do we go about doing it in anyone else's life? Am I the only one who has ever interjected myself INTO someone else's "space" without specifically being "invited in"?
The purpose of anyone looking "inside" is to really begin to see another for who they are, as life has made them through the series of events and choices they have made over time. When we look "inside", we might just begin to see Christ at work within - rearranging what needs movement and has become stagnant or stale in their lives. Me might see him cleaning away years and years of "built up" dirt, giving a sense of freshness and purity. There he is at work making places for others to enter in and to find a place of special purpose where other relationships left gaps or holes never refilled again. It is his work - we are only observers of his "life change". I don't have many who I have really "let in" to see me as I am, but when I have let them in, they see more than a reflection - they have come to recognize it is Christ in me setting things right - convincing me of the need for life change. Others have been content to see the reflection of what is on the outside, never getting close enough to really look inside. I am okay with that, as long as they don't judge me by what they see on the surface, because sometimes I can present a pretty picture "out there", but I am pretty much a mess on the inside! To really get to know each other, we need both vantage points, but most importantly to see each other for what God is doing on the inside! Just sayin!