Jump in the mess of human lives undressed
And sin unconfessed… and see beauty.
Look at the sea of misfits and misery
And cry ’til you bleed… and see beauty.
That’s what God does!
That’s what God does!
That’s what God does! Why can’t we?
– The rock group, Skypark
I’ve used the lyrics of this song before in a Catch; maybe more than once. That’s because it’s an amazing lyric, one of the most amazing I’ve ever come across. It captures an astonishing truth about God that I don’t think many people recognize or contemplate. If they ever do, like me, they most likely forget and need to be reminded … often. And since we are focusing on respect this week, it’s a good time to be reminded.
The amazing truth here is that God looks at us, in the mess of our lives, and sees beauty. God looks at us in our dysfunctions, our addictions, our sins, our pain, our disabilities, our aging skin, our fatness and skinniness, our short and our tallness, our badness and our baldness, and sees beauty. He sees us as He made us to be — as we will be — indeed, as we already are in heavenly realms. This is just a part of what He does, but it’s a part from which we need to steal a chapter. We need to learn how to do this — indeed we can through the eyes of God in us. We need to see beauty in everyone. That would be a huge head start on respect.
My favorite scene from Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, is when Jesus, bloodied and staggering under the weight of the cross He is being forced to carry through the streets of Jerusalem, comes across His mother, who understandably is feeling much of His pain. And this is when He says something to the effect of, “Mother, look! I’m making all things new!”
What? Who would ever expect that? Someone who knows and understands what He was doing. Someone who could see beyond the present pain to the glory that would soon be revealed as the result of His victory over death. I believe we can learn to do the same thing — to see through the eyes of Christ — to see that He is, even now, making all things new.
Think of that person you have a hard time loving. Think of the one that repulses you. Think of the person that angers you. Think of that person twisted or distorted from pain or disease. Think of that one who is dying. Now think of that person made new in the eyes of God. Imagine that person healed and whole in heaven. Now see them that way right now. It’s possible. I know you can do this because I have.
That is what Jesus was saying to Mary. He was saying, “Don’t just look at me now; look at what I am doing; look at the way things will be for eternity because of this!”
We need to start to look at people this way. It’s possible because of what Christ has done, and because we have His Spirit in us. If we have the Spirit, then we have the Spirit’s eyes.
We need to look at people and see beauty, because … well … that’s what God does, and if that’s what God does, why can’t we?