Seeing People the Way Jesus Does
As we read through the New Testament, we cannot miss the way in which Jesus saw people. Crowds weary from travel, hungry from listening to a lot of preaching, beggars, the marginalized, the sick, and the lost were all embraced in His sweeping gaze.
It becomes obvious that Jesus did not merely look; He saw.
Too often, the busyness of our lives removes from us the possibility of truly doing the latter of the two. We look at an accident on the interstate, but do we see the damage to the people involved? We look at a husband and wife straining to appear normal, but do we see the widening gaps in the marital foundation? We look at the backward girl in the middle school assembly, but do we see the bullying she’s enduring at school?
Looking takes but a moment; seeing requires us to process information, connect dots, sympathize, and understand. It also requires action.
All around us are people who need Christ. Do we see them? All around us are believers who are struggling to walk with Christ. Do we see them? All around us are believers desperately wanting to be connected, but are entrenched in loneliness. Do we see them?
A recent survey found that 74% of Protestant churchgoers feel they “have developed significant relationships with people at [their] church.” Yet, the same survey found that only 53% of the same group are intentionally trying to meet new people at their church.
Nearly half of our people are looking without seeing.
To help more people along the path of discipleship means that first, we must see them. Then, involve them. With that in mind, here are three keys to help us learn to see with Jesus’ eyes:
Key #1: Help people learn to go beyond the surface.
Most churches have some kind of greeting time during the worship time. These are good as far as they go, but have inherent limitations. It tends to be loud. People are moving around. There is an expectation of a handshake, a “good to see you,” and not much else. It’s like speed dating for visitors.
Rather than the greeting being the end, make it a means. Teach people to identify people to catch up with at the end of the service to engage more fully. The first time may not be the right time for a small-group invite, but it can be the right time to start remembering a name, a face, the family structure, or get contact info.
Key #2: Have people tell specific stories of seeing with Jesus’ eyes.
This does not have to be the leader personally, but a story they know. Use the “wins” in your church body to show others how to see. Rather than saying, “I read this story this week,” say, “John, come and tell everyone that amazing thing you witnessed Tuesday morning.”
Key #3: Pray for Christ-like compassion for yourself and the body.
Often in the gospels, we are told that Jesus had compassion on a certain group of people. This usually led to an action on His part, like healing the sick or feeding the crowd. Seeing with Jesus’ eyes is directly tied to compassion. As we see with Jesus’ eyes, we will experience compassion as He did and be moved to reach out to others both inside and outside the family of faith.