I prayed recently, “Lord teach me to see people as You see them” as we often sing songs on the radio or at church with something to this affect but do we ever follow through? I didn’t want them to be empty words and I didn’t want to ignore the Holy Spirit either. You see, unwittingly, in praying that prayer I really gave permission to God to show me how I really see people. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror of my heart.
You see, unwittingly, in praying that prayer I really gave permission to God to show me how I really see people.
As I write this Baltimore is still living high from the Superbowl win of the Ravens just a few hours ago after, what I heard, was a great game at the end. While I had to work, I admittedly was following the score on my phone and secretly pulling for the Ravens but with some hesitation. I definitely wasn’t rooting for the 49′ers because I’m an old fashioned east coast guy. I can’t pull for a west coast team if an east coast (besides the Pat’s) are playing. While there is much hoopla going into this Superbowl and many story-lines for commentators to comment on, the biggest by far was that of now retired Ravens superstar linebacker Ray Lewis.
While Ray Lewis was involved in some shady dealings in a fight that led to a murder indictment he was never convicted and now he is a proclaimed Christian. This didn’t sit too well with a lot of Christians and ruffled a few feathers and even, admittedly my own at first. I sat on one side of the fence judging this man based on a crime that he was never found guilty of and it was a haughty stance. Then a friend on Facebook posted this comment:
“For all you ” Christians ” out there that wanna put Ray Lewis on blast and calling him names cause he proclaims to believe in Christ but is a murderer. Paul wrote 2/3 of the New Testament and he killed a lot of Christians.. Answer that one ?”
Conviction hit me deep as I was clearly shown that I was wrong in judging this man. Who am I to judge him at all? I don’t know this man from Adam…I can only judge by the fruit I see not by his past. As he claims Christ that means God has forgiven Ray of anything in his past and he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We as men have done a great job by judging this man from a crime that he was never charged of but we as a community have failed to see this man for his heart; I have failed. The word’s of my friend showed me in an instant how I had passed judgment on a man that God has deemed as innocent as He has deemed you and I as born again believers. I am reminded of what the Lord told Samuel the prophet: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).”
What do you see in your mirror?
I don’t know about you but I have found that often God will place me around people that “just rub me the wrong way.” It’s not that these people are just that extreme opposite but the fact that they are exactly like me. I have found the very things that have “rubbed me the wrong way” about that person is also in me. In these reflections, God has been showing me who I am.
God has been doing major surgery on me as of lately in the area of offense. I am seeing the offenses I have once held, even against family members, have come from unmet expectations that I had of them. I held them to a standard that they failed to live up to and because we are most easily hurt by the ones we love the most (family and friends) offense takes root. While I am working on my end of things and on resolving this area in my life I am seeing my reflection in others and it surprises me.
Here in those moments I have the realization of “I used to be like that?” and I thank God for the change He is working in me because now I can help others along the same path. Am I perfect at this or any area? No, far from it but I will do the best I can on my end to be the man of God He has called me to be. That starts by seeing my reflection and changing the man in the mirror. Maybe it’s just me but have you ever experienced this? Where have you seen your reflection?
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(For more info on the subject of offense read John Bevere’s “The Bait of Satan;” it will change your life…it did mine)
Admittedly I have never listened to Michael Jackson’s song but in the past couple of days the chorus of Man in the Mirror has been stuck in my head because that’s what I am beginning to see with clarity. In continuing the Growing Pains Series, a chronicle of my final year at Destiny School of Ministry, I feel it is only appopriate to call this post Man in the Mirror.
This past week in class Pastor Quinton (@PQSelf) taught us candidly as always but there was one part of the week that God seemed to throw up the proverbial mirror on my life saying “hey you are full of this thing and it’s got to go son.” God is so graceful when He brings the dark corners of our hearts to life; God didn’t attack me with my sin but He waited till I was ready to deal with it and brought it to my attention.
For me, this time, that area is entitlement. While our generation is full of the entitlement disease and even in the Church I’d almost dare to say it’s worse. I will admit I had a wrong perspective on what it was; entitlement is not just say “hey I want what I earned” but it also shows up in saying “why does that person have this job? They’re not as qualified as me” or even yet bring it to the Church here: “do they not see my anointing? Why do people not honor me?”
Entitlement is a plague that needs to be eradicated from my life; I never knew it was as big as a problem in my own heart as it really is. I choose this day to serve God and not my own interests I will walk humbly before the Lord (Micah 6:8) recognizing that everything I have is a blessing from God. For “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17). I know God has accepted me not for anything I have done or can do (Ephesians 2:8-9) so to quote a man of God “If I wasn’t doing jack to earn God’s love when I was a sinner what makes me think I have to earn it now?” The man I see is not all that pretty but with the Lord’s help I am starting with the man in the mirror: me.
The moments our hearts are exposed before the Lord is not always easy but if we allow ourselves to be open and honest with God and those around us the end result will be worth the pain of “Holy Ghost Surgery” in our life!
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