by Robyn Ferradas
Do you take the time to really see people and know people and seek hearts? I’ve asked myself this question a lot lately, especially in relation to my husband and my kids, and to be honest, the answer is often, “No.” Do I want to? YES! Of course! I want to see what my family members need, and really know them intimately and impact their hearts. This is one of the deepest desires of my heart. Yet this desire does not always translate into action. Why?
A few things come to mind from my own experiences:
Maybe some of the above scenarios resonate with you, or maybe there are other circumstances impacting your ability to see others AND allow them into your heart to see you. Regardless of your personal struggle, God has created the family, He has made us for community, and He does call us to love and serve others. And as Christ-followers, we desperately want this. So what is the key to actually making it happen (or at least heading in that direction)?
I was encouraged the other day with Philippians 1:8, where Paul writes to the church in Philippi, “I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus (ESV).” I believe, the secret ingredient to loving and serving and seeing and giving and opening your heart to others, is to do it WITH THE AFFECTION OF CHRIST JESUS. It comes from Him! Often I’m trying to balance my schedule, I’m striving to refocus my time, I’m working through struggles and challenges in my family, I’m pushing to heal from pain in my past. Me, myself, and I. But in what ways am I allowing God to work IN and THROUGH me? In what ways do I love others with the affection of Christ?
The heart of the Gospel tells us that we will never be able to modify our behavior enough or muster the action needed to be “good.” Romans 3:10 tells us, “No one is righteous, no, not one.” This does not mean we can sit around praying and then God will make a miracle happen and we will just automatically love others as He does. God calls us to action and has given us the gift of freewill. However, truly seeing and loving others in spite of challenges, can happen even in the hard moments, when we love WITH THE AFFECTION OF CHRIST JESUS. When the Holy Spirit empowers us to love as Jesus loves. It is not enough to want to it. It is not enough to muster the energy or courage or strength to do it. It must be done with God’s power.
I went to see the movie “Wonder” with my family in December, and was deeply touched by its message. (My daughter and I have since started reading the book as well.) But the last line of the movie pretty much sums up what I'm trying to get at here: “If you really want to see what people are, all you have to do is look.” You have to be willing to look, but with the eyes of Jesus.