Teach us to see

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.

Hebrews 12:15
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.

Matthew 6:14-15
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.”


Matthew 7:1-2
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.


Godly sorrow producing repentance

Godly sorrow producing repentance (a personal testimony)

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV) Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

I don’t know how all of this works, but I believe that this was the verse that the Holy Spirit brought me to, after God did His work in me.  I testify to His work.

The Greek word for repentance is  ‘metanoia’ which means to change one’s mind.

Many people have worldly sorrow, or regret over the things that they either did or didn’t do during their lifetimes.  However, without a change of mind, they would not have done things any differently.

I have been married for twenty years, but until this turning point, I would not have told you “happily married,” as the fairy tales have proclaimed.

Over the years, my heart had become bitter and business-like without much heart-felt affection towards my wife.

At one point a few years ago, my wife and I were going through a marriage video series together.  During this time, I communicated my “non-negotiable” needs for regular intimacy with my wife.  To my surprise, the well of intimacy dried up, really in both of us.  Was this because I had not learned to be content with what I had?  Maybe.  I went through life trying to make the best of it, but inside I was not happy.

Hebrews 12:15
15 Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many.

I had noticed over the past three to five years a lack of patience with people at work.  Even more so than usual, knowing that my overall life happiness probably had something to do with it.

On January 4th, 2016, I expressed my frustration to my wife on how much I felt ripped off.  I felt like there was more affection and passion before we were married than after.  I  also expressed how I have  been “miserable for the last twenty years.”

While my wife was listening to me, I believe the Holy Spirit asked me this question, “what if you have been a miserable person these last twenty years?”  After this, I realized that I have had a choice as to whether to have been miserable or not.  I blamed my wife for my misery.  Hmmm, where have we seen that pattern before?  I began to see this same pattern in my grandma and grandpa, and many other marriages.  I wondered how many other marriages were like this.  I didn’t want to keep being miserable.  I want to enjoy the time I have left on earth.  I confessed that I had been a miserable person for the past twenty years to my wife.

After this confession, the cold bitter wall that had built up in my heart came down, restoring affection and love in our marriage.  It was truly only something God could do.  Holy Spirit led me to the understanding that what just happened was Godly sorrow leading to a change of mind (2 Cor 7).  I believe Godly sorrow that leads to repentance has these key elements:

1) Honest confession of your true feelings (light can not come in when emotions are trapped in darkness)
2) A realization of the part you have played
3) A change of mind
4) Reconcilation of hearts

Where I had no hope for the future with my wife and my life as a whole, I now have hope.

I had always felt like there was more on the following scripture than I could fathom, but I thought that the text was for those “other” bitter people, and not for me.

Exodus 15:22-27
22 Then Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea, and they went out to the Wilderness of Shur. They journeyed for three days in the wilderness without finding water.
23 They came to Marah, but they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter – that is why it was named Marah.
24 The people grumbled to Moses, “What are we going to drink?”
25 So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable. He made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah and He tested them there.
26 He said, “If you will carefully obey the LORD your God, do what is right in His eyes, pay attention to His commands, and keep all His statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you that I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am Yahweh who heals you.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were 12 springs of water and 70 date palms, and they camped there by the waters.

The contrast between Marah (bitterness) and Elim  (palms), represent the bitterness that occurs when our flesh doesn’t get what it wants, versus waiting for God’s provision in His way and timing.  I believe Elim was a place of healing, after moving past the place of Marah.

I wonder how long the Israelites were tested at Marah.  I wonder how many marriages are stuck at Marah.  Ask the Healer of Hearts to do what only He can do.