It was mid-November when her confession came out. My dear colleague Pam couldn’t take it anymore. She had to ask for prayers about her 7th hour. Have you ever had a class like that? We all winced and nodded, already knowing what a bear this group probably already was. I mean, seriously, 7th hour? The kids have checked out by that point anyways, and the high flyers are soaring above the clouds by that point, chomping at the bit to get the heck out of Dodge. She tried playing it down, saying it was just a few kids who were pushing buttons, but we knew the inevitable: this class was tearing her down. We prayed, we left, and life went on. Until her update came last Friday.
Pam was beaming ear to ear, obviously eager to share. Oddly enough, this wasn’t a prayer for her 7th hour. This was a praise! Even as I typed it in our prayer list from my computer, I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was hearing. What had happened over the last few months? How can a class—and a 7th hour class at that—go from a prayer to a praise in such a short amount of time? Pam leaned forward in her chair and explained what had happened. Somewhere along the line God had reminded her of the importance of seeing others through the eyes of Christ. When you see students this way, you don’t see their flaws. You see positive qualities. You see potential. You learn to love them for who they are and embrace their uniqueness.
When Jesus was choosing his disciples in Matthew 4: 17-25, he saw those things. Amongst all the influential people of Galilee, Jesus selected four men there. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John. These men weren’t the type of people you’d expect Jesus to be looking for. They were fishermen. Ordinary men. Everyday Joes. But Jesus didn’t see that. He saw past their crusty exterior and examined the potential of each man. Quick side-note, do you ever count yourself unworthy, saying you aren’t worthy of doing something amazing? God might be asking you to do something a bit out of your comfort zone, but maybe it is time you listened. Examine yourself through the eyes of Christ.
When I look at my students through the eyes of Christ, it is almost as if you’re putting on 3-D glasses. You see things you’ve never seen before! Limitless potential. Extraordinary talent. The bland becomes flamboyant. I am thinking of a particular young man I have right now in the morning. Through my own eyes he is touted an apathetic liar. An underachiever. A manipulator. An oppositional defiant character that wants things his way. Through the eyes of Christ, however, I see him differently. He’s an artist. A dreamer. A kid who appreciates classic rock (that’s important by the way!). What if my perspective changed about this kid? What if I saw his potential, encouraged him in any way possible, and forgave his downfalls? Could he rise above the standard he has set for himself?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8: 28). Did you hear that? ALL things. Not just some things. God is so powerful that He can use the most unlikely person to spread His Word. Just ask Paul. The most heinous persecutor of his time changed forever. Why? Because God saw something amazing in him. Maybe that should be our prayer today. To see the world around us the way God sees us. The way Christ sees us. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119: 18). That, my friends, is a prayer worth praying.
(Want a song that gets you moving in the morning better than a cup of coffee? Try listening to For King and Country’s “Fix My Eyes.” If we could only fix our eyes on Christ, we might just see the world through His perfect eyes.)