Summary: Learning how to see that our true home is not this earth
A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE
A man who was losing his memory went to his doctor for advice. He received this choice from the doctor, “We cannot help your memory without impairing your eyesight. Now the choice is yours. Would you rather be able to see or to remember?” The man thoughtfully replied, “Frankly, I’d rather have my eyesight than my memory. You see, I’d rather see where I’m going than remember where I’ve been.” Our perspective in life is something unique to each of us, and it is very difficult to see things through another person’s eyes. However, there are ways to change our perspective.
Like the man who had to choose between eyesight and memory, we might be well advised to be more concerned with where we are going than where have been. God is asking us to do something very remarkable, to live here while our thoughts are somewhere else. It’s the dilemma of being a Christian in an often hostile and wicked world.
So now, here we are, waiting and waiting and wondering how long we can hold out and be good. What does this mean to our relationships while we wait? For one thing, we have to get along the best we can, we have to coexist with others, Christians or not, in a way that demonstrates our faith. In all our relationships there are traits we are to adopt and practice so that others see Christ through us.
Humility, kindness, mercy, generosity, love and inspiration are just a few of the qualities that made Christ’s life one to imitate. All of these qualities culminate into a proper perspective of life, love and relationship as they are now during this waiting period. There is no greater calling for us than to be imitators of Christ. Millions of people worldwide do not know the Savior we know, nor do many of them want to.
Our part in revealing the truth of Christ is one of the most important elements in our faith. In our Lenten study this year we are discovering how to give up those bad things residing in each of us, things that alienate us from each other, even, or maybe especially, those people we do not even know.
This past week we discussed how being judgmental actually creates a distance or separation from others. Jesus taught that we should not judge for with the same measure we use to judge others, we will be judged by God. In a world so obviously polarized there is no room for us to distance ourselves from others.
Paul spoke of enemies of the cross, nonbelievers who want to see us bicker and complain and judge. They want to see us lose our cool and our composure and our Christianity. They may remark that our actions do not exemplify a very Christian attitude, and unfortunately, often times they are right.
Enemies of the cross fail to see what’s waiting for us, fail to see what’s ahead because they can’t see it. For whatever reason they cannot believe the teachings of Christianity and so they scoff. They remind me of the Charlie Brown Halloween story, the one where spunky little Linus spends the night in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin, a kind of Santa Claus figure who rewards good children. The other children did not believe like Linus did and so they hurled insults at him and questioned the sincerity of his pumpkin patch.
Now you and I know that there is no such thing as the Great Pumpkin, but I imagine that our claims of a man who was both divine and human dying to save the world and then coming back to life sounds just about like a childish fantasy to those who have no faith. Again, it’s a matter of perspective. Paul said also that people who don’t believe in the cross have their minds of earthly things. There will always be people like that, and we will encounter them until we are no longer on this earth. They are not seeing clearly what we see.
But how wonderful it would be if we could be the ones to change their perspective. If our behavior and our conversation would be centered on Jesus, would show the world whose hands we have placed our lives in, it could change the world. The thing preventing us from doing so is that we also, at times, do not see what those Paul called enemies of the cross do not see. Those are the times we take our eyes off of Christ.
The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Philippi to remember that our citizenship is in heaven. In older translations the word citizenship appears as conversation, both of which in Greek are politeuma, from which we get the English word politics. If we conducted our conversation and our politics like we were in heaven, what a wonderful world it would truly be. Instead, we often have difficulty keeping our conversation polite because we forget who we are.