Updated: Apr 3
I shared this meme a couple times on social media. I love it. Putting on my love glasses!
Our interactions with others are often colored by our past experiences with them. We meet someone new, they say or do something and we process in our heads: Are they being sarcastic? Are they being critical? Are they joking? Are they telling the truth? Are they lying? Are they genuine? Are they compassionate? ... Then we see them again and we build on what we think of them.
As time goes on we develop an opinion on that person. We like them! ... We want to avoid them. ... We don't trust them. ... We do trust them. ... We decide if they are a like-minded friend or a foe.
This happens in all of our relationships with others.
We interact and react to a person based on the previous experiences we have had with each other.
We get these perceptions of people and we think we know what they are thinking or going to do. But often that is not the case. Our view is based on our own feelings about them and not really what is truly going on.
I remember one time seeing a couple at church and I thought they were rude to me. I wondered what had I done to them? I thought, 'Well, if they are going to treat me like that...!' I found out months later that they were going through marital problems at that time and the one had left the marriage for another person. Their treatment of me probably had nothing to do with me. It had to do with the situation they were in right then.
And it doesn't have to be someone we know. We react to strangers based on what we observe. Yelling at their kids. Slamming their car door. Their facial expressions. Even just by the way they look.
We view the world through our faulty eyes.
We often treat others poorly.
Christians are told to love others.
We are told to witness Christ to others.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us;
2 Corinthians 5:20a
We know that. But I think we often forget or we just need a little reminder.
My women's group is doing a Bible study right now where we learned about what standing stones were in ancient times. They were memorials to something that when people saw them they would remember some important event. We learned about the Via Maris trade route running through Israel. God placed the Israelites in that location in the world to influence the world. The Israelites were to live their lives in such a way, obedient to God, that others would take note and glorify God. They were to be standing stones to the world.
The mission for Christians is exactly the same. Live obediently to God. Influence the world. Live our lives in such a way that God is glorified.
Someone mentioned during our discussion that we may be the only Bible some people read.
As I thought about what we learned and how we are to show the world what a relationship with Christ is like; I thought wouldn't it be great to put on love glasses to view the world through. To remind us to look at the world as He would. To remember that each person we encounter matters to Him. It doesn't matter their religious faith. It doesn't matter their political views. It doesn't matter the color of their skin. It doesn't matter what language they speak. It doesn't matter how much money they have or the lack of money they have. It doesn't matter if they have been unkind to us. It only matters that God loves them and so should we if we profess to be Christ followers.
So I purchased love glasses for each of the women in my Bible study group. Each week we put them on and we brainstorm how we can love others in a particular area.
When we put on our love glasses our attitudes change. We smile and laugh. Obviously because we look ridiculous.
First week was driving. How can we love others when we are driving? Letting someone in traffic. Waving at people. Using our turn signals. Being considerate. Not cutting in front of people. Pay attention to driving. ...
The next week was how to show Christ's love to others as we are shopping - at the grocery store, the mall, the gas station, Wal-Mart (that one is really challenging for me. I try to always pray before I enter Wal-Mart. Ha.) Let people go ahead of us. Help people. Pay it forward if we have the means. Be patient - no rolling the eyes or huffing. Thank the employees. Smile at those we encounter. ...
The next week was how can we show love to others on social media. Make people smile. Bring joy to others. Check if something is true before we share it. Filter what we post with: Are these words kind? Are they necessary? Do they encourage? Are my words divisive or unifying? Does my tone sound like someone who represents Christ? ...
Next week was how to love on our co-workers or people we volunteer with.
The next week...
You get the idea - How can we show the love of Christ to others in real and tangible ways? And the operative word there was "show."
We are after all "living stones." (1 Peter 2:5)
Our purpose in this life on earth is to grow to be more like Christ and to reflect His image to others. But first we must put on those love glasses and see them how He sees them.
Love. It is a commandment.