Open Your Eyes


Open Your Eyes

What do you really see when you look at people?

Richard Hollerman

If you have eyesight, you regularly use it every day of your life. When you are around people—whether at home, on the job, or in public—you look at them. But what do you see?  Do you really see these men and women, these boys and girls?

My dictionary has some twenty different definitions of the verb, “to see.”  It can be defined in this way: “to perceive with the eye” but it can also denote, “to understand, comprehend,” or “to consider to be.” It is this second aspect of seeing that we want to challenge you with today.

It is one thing to “see” a person superficially or externally, perhaps sitting on a park bench or in a doctor’s office. It is another thing to really see the person, to perceive what the person is doing, what he believes, how he behaves, and how he responds. What do you really see when you look at a person? Yes, we may notice the clothes they wear and the expression on his or her face. But do you and I see beyond these superficial things?

What about Jesus our Lord? Matthew tells us, “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (9:36). When Jesus “saw” these people, He had “compassion” for them. Others may have overlooked them or considered them beneath the level of devoted Pharisees, but Jesus saw something. He knew that they were like sheep without a shepherd to teach and care for them.

Again, notice Matthew 4:18a: “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers…” (see also 4:21). Did He simply notice them working? Yes, but He must have seen more—that they were the ones God has chosen to be His disciples. He must have seen what they would become after traveling with him for years. Notice another passage: “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting I the tax collect6or’s booth” (9:9). Our Lord saw people but when He saw people, he looked below the surface into their heart.

Consider also Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem at the time of His “triumphal entry.” This is what Luke tells us: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it” (19:41). The text says that Jesus “saw” the city. But when he saw the city, He didn’t turn away or continue His activities.  He “wept over it.” He could see the future of the city and what would happen if they rejected His appeals.  This brought forth our Savior’s tears. Do we look at a city like this? Do we see multitudes without salvation and without hope?  Do we see people in the city without Jesus as Savior?

Our Lord saw people just as we do. But didn’t He see something more? Didn’t He recognize the needs these people had, the guilt that filled their soul, and the sorrow or happiness that captivated their heart? If Jesus saw people and their needs, what about us? Do we just look at people superficially, or do we see beyond this and actually view people?

When you live in the midst of your family, are you attentive to where your family members are and what they are thinking? We are able to see these people externally, but we refer to the inner parts of these people—their heart, their mind, and their soul. We can’t do this infallibly, but we can at least determine to be attentive to the sorrow, the joy, the concern, the pain, the loneliness, the worry, the relief, and the disappointments of these family members.

We are given a number of instructions to help us to really see people. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Can we really rejoice and weep unless we see what is on the hearts of others? Paul is encouraging us to see—really see—people, identify with them, sympathize with them, and care for them. This is love in action—a love that is genuinely concerned about other people.  But we can’t really love people unless we see them—or perceive where people are in their thinking and in their life.

Let’s love people like this and let’s begin to see them and even see their heart. This takes a choice to see people and thus respond to them. Let’s really see people so we can love them and respond to them out of love. Consider this:


·      When you look at people, remember that each one of them is either on the broad way or on the narrow way. Each one of them will either go to eternal life or destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

·      When you look at people, ask what the person’s needs are and how you might help him or her to meet those needs.

·      When you look at people, recognize that each one of them is either in a saving relationship with Christ or separated from Him.

·      When you look at people, remember that some of them are indwelt by the Spirit of God whereas most of them do not have God’s Spirit.

·      When you look at people, ask yourself how love should respond to each of these people.

·      When you look at people, ask yourself how close you should be to such people and how separated you should be to them.

This takes something more than just looking at people on the surface. We must look beyond the externals to the heart, to the mind, and to the soul.

One time Jesus was invited to the home of Simon, a Pharisee, to eat. While He was there, a sinful woman entered (uninvited) and stood behind Jesus while weeping and wetting His feet with her tears (Luke7:36-38). The Lord knew that the Pharisee had no regard for this woman; in fact, he condemned her.  After giving a parable, Jesus said to his host, “Do you see this woman?” (v. 44). The Lord wanted Simon to see this woman with eyes of compassion, something that he had not at all done. If the Lord were to visit you, would He ask whether you see people beyond the externals to the internal needs?

Let’s open our eyes and really see where people are. Let’s look at people as Jesus looked at people. And let us strive to have the same attitude manifested by our Savior. Look at your husband or wife in a new way. Look at your children—and really see them.  Look at your fellow-workers and consider their needs, dreams, feelings, and heart-attitude.

Let’s really “see” people and respond to them as Jesus did.


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