If you’re always the first to see the dirt, perhaps you ought to clean your glasses. – Abigail Van Buren. This quote on a newspaper clipping from the popular Dear Abby column was one my mom had saved. It resonated with me. Since we’re talking about making choices this month, may I suggest we work on choosing to clean our glasses to see people and issues more clearly. What might that look like?
If you’ve ever played hide and seek with a child, you’ve probably chuckled as the youngster stands at full height behind the sofa, covering her eyes with her hands, certain that if she can’t see you, you can’t see her. We may chuckle, but I find I am often guilty of smudging my life glasses by refusing to recognize others’ views and perspectives. I place blinders on my understanding, more intent on defending my stubborn view than opening my eyes to the truths I could discover by looking at things from another’s vantage point. The consequence of this choice is a blurred vision of truth and limited social circles. One remedy may be reading articles or listening to reasonable voices who present the opposite views of our pet ideas. However, the best method I’ve found for this type of cleaning is getting to know and love someone who is on the other side of an issue. It’s easy to blindly discount everything about a group or party until someone you love is involved. For example, I had little compassion for those who were incarcerated until I had people I loved who faced this harsh experience.
Another cleaning tip I picked up lately from a dear friend is to remember good people make mistakes. When I am tempted to rake myself (or anyone else) over the coals, her advice calms my heart and adjusts my focus. She simply suggests you say: “I am (or she is) a good person who made a mistake.”
Using a rearview mirror can be both helpful and dangerous. It we insist on riveting our eyes on past mistakes, we can’t see to move forward to our destination of healing and truth. On the other hand, using a rearview can enhance our vision to learn and grow from the past as well as opening our eyes to those who may be overlooked or left behind.
Just as you must sometimes consult an eye doctor to have your vision corrected, you’ll need the advice of a trusted expert if you want a 20/20 view of life. For me, this is the Father of us all. If we want to see others as they truly are, it will require His help to open our eyes to see them as He sees them. As parents, we love our children unfailingly and see their potential even when they stumble. God does the same perfectly for every one of us. In the Bible, this Heavenly Physician explains why His view is accurate. For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
Will you join me in cleaning our glasses, seeking this worthy goal of seeing clearly each other’s hearts with a bit of heavenly help?