2 Corinthians 5:14-16
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
Love does not see the faults and weaknesses of others. If you love and care for someone, one can overlook their faults. You don’t even see them. The adage ‘love is blind’ has some truth to it. On the other hand, if you don’t like someone or even hate them, you will have no trouble seeing their faults. In fact, their faults are all that you will see.
I recently coached a volleyball team where one of the players and her mom had taken up an offense with three other players on the team, and had begun labeling them as bullies. After a particularly difficult match, their judgments and wounds surfaced in the form of anger, tears, and blame. Both the daughter and the mom had been nursing a wound for months and had become bitter. I counseled the mother and daughter to forgive them, but they couldn’t hear me through their shared offense. Ultimately, they ended up leaving the team as they were unable to forgive.
In seeking to understand the situation, the Holy Spirit took me to this verse.
15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Even though I didn’t want to share in their offense, I inadvertently began to see the faults of these three players and began to lose the ability to see their good qualities. I lost the ability to love them. In the player and mom airing their judgement of the players as bullies, I became defiled by it.
There is a Hebrew idiom that talks about whether your eye is good or bad (Matthew 6:22-23).
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!”
This idiom of contrasting a good eye – ‘ayin tov’ with a bad eye – ‘ayin rah’ applies to someone’s attitude towards others. A good eye or one that is ‘single’ is one who sees generously. A good or single eye is an eye which sees the treasure and value in people and does not really ‘see’ their faults. A bad eye or one that is ‘stingy’ is one who sees critically and sees the faults and makes assessments and judgment of others.
We see this same reference in Proverbs 22:9.
He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.
The reference to a generous eye in Hebrew is the same, ‘ayin tov’, or a good eye. The eye represents the condition of the heart.
Certainly this refers back to Deuteronomy 15:7-11, which deals with our heart towards those in need. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that Adonai Jireh (Genesis 22-14) has been unfortunately translated as the ‘God who provides’ instead of the ‘God who will see’. When God sees our need, He will respond. In this regard, we are called to be like God.
How will we see? Will we see a persons’ need and good qualities through a good eye or will we see through a critical lens?
Recently at a spiritual retreat, a good friend of mine shared that “any time, we are walking in judgement of someone, fear, or anger, we have stepped out of love and are walking in darkness.”
I would suggest to you that statement is true, and encourage you to search the scriptures to confirm it.
1 John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
What are the antidotes to seeing in the flesh and making a bitter root judgment? There are at least two. Forgiveness and the sober warning not to walk in judgment.
What most of us miss are the words Jesus spoke right after teaching us how to pray.
14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.
15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”
1 “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.
2 For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The name Daniel means God is my judge. Humility is required to let God be judge instead of ourselves. Without humility, we won’t find favor with God (James 4:6).
The call to each of us is to not see through the eyes of judgment (the flesh), but rather to see generously and see the way that God sees a person and their need.
As an application, I would ask God this question, “How would you like me to see this person in light of their need?”
The one who walks in the light walks in love.
LORD, help us to see the way that you see.