What Do I See?

Dr. Randall McElwain


When I look at others, what do I see? Do I see people through the eyes of God?

I was walking down the street with a roofing contractor. Suddenly he stopped and said, “Look at that house; they need a new roof.” At an airport, I spoke to a shoe-shine man. Before even answering me, I saw his eyes go to my shoes. My father was a barber. When he met someone, he always noticed their haircut. We see those things that are important to us.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), Jesus told about three men who saw a man who had been attacked by robbers and left to die beside the road. Each man saw something different.

When the priest saw the injured man, he “passed by on the other side.” If he touched a dying man, the priest would be unclean and unable to meet his religious duties in the Temple. The priest saw a problem to avoid.

The Levite knew that robbers often attacked passing travelers. Perhaps he thought, “If I stop this man, I could be their next victim.” The Levite saw a danger to flee.

But the Samaritan saw something the others did not see. He saw a person to rescue; “and when he saw him, he had compassion.”

What was important to the priest? His Temple duties. What was important to the Levite? His safety. What was important to the Samaritan? A hurting man.

What Jesus Saw

All through the gospels, Jesus saw more than other people saw. Jesus saw what was important to Him. The disciples saw a Samaritan woman with a troubled past; Jesus saw a hurting soul. The crowd saw a greedy tax collector; Jesus saw Zacchaeus’ lonely heart.

What I See

I move from Jesus’ world to my world. Yesterday, I passed someone begging at an intersection. Did I see merely a “homeless person,” or did I see a person made in God’s image?

When I read a news article about some scandalous and sinful behavior, what do I see? Do I see only the disgusting sin? Or do I see a person who is trapped in his sin – just as I was once trapped in sins that were offensive to a holy God?

What I see shows what is important to me. If I see only the sins and failures of others, I will soon despise them. But if I see people as God sees them, I will learn to love them.

When I look at others, what do I see? Do I see people through the eyes of God?


Loving Father, I am so prone to seeing only the surface. I am tempted to see problems, faults, and weaknesses. Through your Holy Spirit, help me to see others as you see them. Help me to see people as your Son saw those people he encountered when he walked our earth. Give me a sense of compassion for hurting people. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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