Serving full-time in ministry means that I see people’s best and more often worst sides. This is a beautiful, yet challenging position, trying to help people who have needs, problems, pains as much as anyone does. I find myself in a pile of micro-cosmic universes of people’s lives that causes me to often wonder at the tangled mess that makes up a person’s personality, character, quirks, expressions and interactions. What are the experiences that they have gone through, the pains they’ve felt, the joys they’ve shared, the tears they’ve cried, the passions they live for and the hurts they carry that cause them to be who they are. Finding out this information is like finding the keys to unlocking who someone really is-one finds out what really makes someone “tick” so to speak.
There’s a story in the Gospel of Matthew that doesn’t receive much attention. It’s found at the end of Matthew chapter twenty. There are two blind men who find out Jesus is passing right by them. So they begin to shout for Jesus. I suppose since they were blind they couldn’t have just jumped up and found Him. It’s not like they would have been able to find Jesus in the crowd. So they do the only logical thing two blind men do when the Healer of the Universe just so happens to be walking down their street. They begin to shout and yell. Think about that. They must have been excited. Just their luck. Jesus is coming, and they hoped they’d receive their sight back. But the crowd tells them to shut up and be quiet. In fact the crowd rebuked them. Maybe it wasn’t appropriate to be loud in that part of town. Perhaps it was night time and they were waking everyone up with their shouting. So what do you think they did next? They began to yell louder. They shouted more for Jesus. They didn’t want to miss this opportunity.
So Jesus stops and asks them what they want. They say they’d like to see. Then we read something that I just love. Jesus looks upon them and has compassion. There are stories all throughout the Gospels where Jesus stops and looks upon a specific person or persons and has compassion. He looks into their eyes, he sees their face and He feels a great amount of compassion. So He touches these mens eyes and heals them. He looks, He has compassion and He touches them. He takes the time, even if it was in the middle of the night to look upon these blind, helpless men and have some compassion on them and touch them.
It would be understandable to rebuke these men. They were making noise, they were disturbing the peace. They weren’t popular and they weren’t important. They didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. We don’t know what kind of men they were before Jesus passed by them. It doesn’t seem they had been trying to find Jesus. We don’t know if they became followers of Jesus there after. They probably never wrote any books. They probably didn’t become elected officials. They were ordinary men, who were outcasts who, because they were blind, probably had no one but each other.
But Jesus looks upon them and has compassion. Jesus cares about them. Jesus values them and treats them as important. Jesus takes the time to understand their situation and their plight and He does more than that, He reaches out and touches them, bringing healing and sight back to their eyes.
They must have been overjoyed.
I think so often I tend not to give grace to others. I don’t stop to take the time to get to know their situation. I don’t look intently into someone’s eyes and have compassion on them. I don’t stop long enough to see the pain in their face. I don’t look close enough to see the tear stains on their cheeks and I don’t examine close enough to discover their scars.
If you’re like me, you might not take the time to really look into someone’s eyes either.
Here’s a poem I wrote entitled, “Did you see his face?”
There was a man in my face the other day who yelled at me and walked away. I thought, “How can he be so insensitive? How could he do this to me?”
Then I heard a voice say, “I know, but did you looked into his eyes, did you see his face as he turned and walked away? Did you take the time to listen, did you understand his pain?”
I saw a mother who didn’t give much attention to her son, I thought, “How can she do that to him? Does she not care? Why does she let this moment pass away?”
Then I heard a voice say, “I know, but have you looked into her eyes, did you see her face as she turned the other way, did you try to understand, did you see her pain?”
I saw a crowd gathered around a man. They spat at him and called Him names. They yelled, “How dare He call Himself the Messiah!”
I shouted to them, “I know, but have you seen His face, have you tried to understand the cross He bore in your place, have you tried to know Him or feel His pain?”
One day, not long ago, someone was angry at me, they shouted and accused me of all sorts of evil. But this time, I was wrong, I had transgressed, I didn’t know how to answer so I wept instead.
Then He knelt by my side and said to them, “I know, but I have seen his face, I have looked into his eyes, I have died in his place.”
So next time you are tempted to brush past some people along the side of the road, or you make some assumptions regarding some people who really anger you or you get really upset at your brother. Stop. Take a moment. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Put yourself in their place. Try to understand the world from their perspective. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Do not be to quick to judgment. Take the time to look into their eyes and see their face before you just turn and walk away.