Is there grace in your gaze?
When you look around at those who populate this broken and hurting world, how do you see them? We’re talking about the down and outers, the dirty, the homeless, those who burden society with their needs and their woes.
Is there disgust in your gaze? Do you label them ‘losers’? Do you immediately assume that their plight is only because of mistakes they made in their past?
Do you view them condescendingly? Are you comfortable in your position ahead of them in life? How many rungs of the ladder are they below you?
I am often chagrined to compare the way I look at people and the way Jesus does. There was always grace in his gaze.
– He saw past the slumped shoulders and downcast eyes and felt their defeat.
– His observation took in their history and saw where their pain originated.
– He saw where they currently were but also where his heart longed for them to be.
– He didn’t sneer, but suffered with them in their disgrace.
– He didn’t shun– He embraced.
– He never disassociated because of their station in life, but had plans for their inclusion in his Kingdom.
When Jesus said in Matthew 25 that we fed him, gave him a drink when he was thirsty, invited him into our home, clothed his nakedness, ministered to his poor health and visited him in prison … we responded, “What? We don’t remember doing any of those things for you!”
His reply? “It was when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters.” Did you catch that? ‘One of the least’ … someone lower than the low … someone at the very bottom of life’s totem pole.
And here is the sobering truth about looking at others with grace in your gaze … you needed a ‘gaze of grace’ yourself. It’s true. Every one of us required God’s amazing grace extended in our direction. He didn’t accept us because of our outward appearance. our good upbringing, stellar educational background or our mistake-free lives.
He accepted us because He loved us! His ‘gaze of grace’ took in our sinfulness and rebelliousness and He loved us anyway!
This week remember – it’s dangerous to assume only others need a gaze of grace and you can get by without it. For it’s only by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8,9) that any of us are saved.
Don’t try to hoard God’s grace. There’s plenty for everyone! Dispense it freely.
Be grateful for grace and find joy for your journey!