Daily D – Acts 8:3
But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. ACTS 8:3 (NLT)
The Emotional Intelligence certification process I am working on requires a deeper dive into how the brain works than I have considered in quite a while. This is the second book in the last couple of months to take me on this journey. The insights are invaluable. One of those insights is that we do not see things as they are, but as we are.
A good book to help wrap your mind around your mind is Brain Rules by John Medina. This is an entertaining and enjoyable approach to a deep subject.
As I read this Bible verse in light of current brain research, a question comes to mind: Do we see people as they are, or as they can be? Other questions arise from this: How does God see us? Does he see us as we are or as we can be by his grace? Does he see the me I want to be or the me he always dreamed I would be? Who do I see me to be? Psalm 73 was part of my reading plan this morning. There are two roads which diverge in that old poem. The psalmist took the one less traveled by, and yes, that made all the difference.
When we look at Paul when he was Saul, what do we see? We see a devoted, determined, deadly man. He was legalistically devoted to destroying anyone who challenged his conception of who God was and what his purpose was in this world. What did God see? He saw the man who would carry the gospel across the Roman Empire and into the very seat of the government that ruled the Mediterranean world and beyond.
We see things as we are. God sees things as he is. His vision is a lot better than ours.
What does God see when he looks at your parents? Your children? Your neighbors? Your coworkers? Your friends? The people in the news?
If we saw people the way God sees people, what would be different? We learned from playing Peek-a-Boo as toddlers that certain outcomes can be predicted and that there is delight when the prediction is discovered to be true. When we consider the two paths a person could walk, how do we pray for them?
Is someone in your life on the wrong path right now? If so, it is not necessarily the end of the story. God’s offer still stands. His path is still open. He will guide any person any old time he or she agrees to start the journey. Even the most determined souls come to turning points and make eternal choices in the right direction.
I choose to see God’s preferred future for those who are considering or who have already started down the wrong path. This is how I pray for them. As God took a self-righteous and angry man and turned him into the Apostle to the Gentiles, he can take anyone I know and turn his or her heart to himself. I choose to see wayward souls through our Father’s eyes. What he sees is ultimate reality.
I will see things as they can be by God’s grace.
Our Father, open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth you have for me. Empower me to see myself, my family, my coworkers, my friends, my neighbors, and everyone I meet as you see them. Use me to help guide them toward the destiny you have prepared for them. May your dreams come true for them and for me. Amen.
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Leviticus 19:32-34 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord. “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
Luke 6:27-31 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”