By Ben Govero
There’s no denying that nowadays most of us think about our looks, often way more than we should. Between movies, magazines, the constant flow of our friends’ photos on Facebook and Twitter, and all the other media that engulf us, we are surrounded by messages telling us about our looks. If you go to the mall, you’ll notice that it’s a cacophony of sights trying to sell us things that will make us look more attractive, healthier, younger, thinner, smarter, richer, cooler, more hip or generally better to others. We buy our jeans pre-ripped, our shirts pre-faded, and our sunglasses with lenses too clear to be useful. All so we can look better.
Today however, when I ask ‘How do I look?’ I don’t mean how do I look in my appearance, but rather, how do I look at other people.
When someone cuts me off in traffic, I have a tendency to speed up and pass them. When I get right next to the offending car, I glance at the driver and give him or her a stern look of judgment. It happens more often than not, and it’s my way of letting them know they did something to offend me.
I think judgment is one of the primary ways we look at others: too short, too fat, too skinny, too poor, too rich, too snooty, too arrogant, too stupid, too weird, too mean, too nice, too fake, too loud, too quiet. It doesn’t end with judgment – we often look at others with envy, angry that they have something we want for ourselves. We might also look at people with lust, with malice or with disdain. How do I look? I’m often too ashamed to say.
How Does God Look?
While I’m going around giving other drivers looks of judgment (I should mention that I’m not a perfect driver myself), I have to wonder, how does God look at us? My judgment upon another person isn’t an actual ‘judgment.’ I have no ability to do that. Jesus is the only who can actually judge. So what kind of looks does HE give?
“Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Mark 10:21
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus looks upon the rich man with love. When God created us, he ‘looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.’ (Gen 1) God looks at us with love! And he looks at our sinfulness with eyes of mercy (John 8:11). He doesn’t just look at us and focus on all of our faults, but he looks at us as a loving father looks at his children. How then, should we his children, look at each other?
“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” John 13:34
The person who cuts me off in traffic, who weaves in and out of lanes and never uses their blinker, who inconveniences the almighty ME (emphasis my own), just so happens to be created in the image and likeness of God, loved by the Father and the Son and the Holy spirit. He is a child of God, a God who looks at him with love and mercy!
How can I look better?
“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3
“…Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
If I claim Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and truly want to follow him, I need to look at other people the way he does, not with judgment or disdain or envy or lust, but with eyes of love and compassion, knowing how precious and valuable each of us are in the eyes of our heavenly Father.