First clean your glasses
I often use sunglasses to illustrate the way people look at one another. Sunbeams move horizontally and vertically. The vertical rays are damaging to humans. Therefore, sunglass lenses have extremely fine slits that let through the horizontal rays, while the damaging vertical rays cannot get through.
When we look at people, we also look at them through specific lenses. Often they are dirty. And then we can’t see that well. Same as sunglasses, some rays can get through, but not because of the slits in the lenses, but because of the dirt on them.
I wear glasses. Two pairs of glasses. Multifocals for outside and a special for when I use the computer. I get so cross at myself, because every time I pick up the glasses, I touch the lenses until I can hardly see through them. Then I have to spray the lenses and wipe and wipe until all the greasiness is gone and I can see again.
So why then all the talk about glasses?
We must realise that we look at other people through lenses that might not be so clean and that the picture that goes into our eyes does not necessarily reflect the truth. Unfortunately, what we see affects how we treat people.
We must understand that other people’s actions and opinions can also cloud our glasses. Someone says something about someone else and instantly there’s a smudge. Maybe the person hurts you or doesn’t do what you want. Immediately there’s bird poop on your glasses. And that is exactly what is going to prevent you from seeing the real picture next time around.
We must realise that we look at all people through glasses. At our spouses, children, colleagues, employees, friends and even strangers. We must be aware that most of the time these glasses do not reflect the real picture. Because it’s very dirty. Often made that way by others throwing dirt at it.
So, when we speak to others, we must make sure that our glasses are clean. Paul is serious about this when he helps Timothy speak to people and leaders who make mistakes: 21I command you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality (Modern English Version).
When Timothy approaches people in the church who have done something wrong, he must first clean his glasses. He cannot correct people before he has heard their side of the story. He must ensure that other people’s opinions or even his own do not dirty his glasses and prevent him from seeing the real picture.
In the same way, we must in all circumstances realise that the picture we see is some distance from what might be the real thing. When you correct someone, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the real picture so that you always act in love.
1 Timothy 5:17-22
What makes your glasses dirty?
How can you see the real picture?
Who do you have to go and help?
Father, I realise we all have a responsibility to make sure that we do not approach others with preconceived ideas. Please help us to always make sure that our glasses are clean so that we can live your will by always acting in love. Amen.