When you see someone out an about do you really see them? It’s so easy to just categorize someone as “my nurse” or “the waitress” or even “the neighbor”. But do we really know what’s going on with them? Do we see them as God’s creation and that they have value or do we just see them for what they can do for us?
It’s so easy to get focused on everything else we have going on in our own lives that we forget to see those around us for who they are. We forget that they have lives too, we just see the in their “roll” in our lives. For example, the lady who waits on you at the grocery store, you see her as what she does not who she is. She may be dealing with a dying mother or sick child at home. We don’t see the “baggage” that others have. We’re too focused on carrying our own. When you ask someone how they are, do you take the time to really listen to what they’re saying? I know people who when asked that question respond with “do you really want to know or are you just asking to be nice?” Most of the time we’re just asking right? We don’t really want to know, we don’t want to get dirty. We don’t want the details, because then we have to care. It’s easier to just keep going on doing our own thing rather than stop and help someone else do theirs.
Many Christians would like to say they care for others; they’d like to say that they want to help others and that they love others like Jesus loves them. But do we really? The majority of Christians would rather just throw money or another program at the problems they see around them. They don’t want to actually help with their hands, it’s too personal, it’s too real. So how do we fix it? How do we as Christians make people feel valued and let them know they’re worth our time?
First I would say, we have to stop seeing others for what they can do or are doing for us. That involves stopping and looking around us. Look at the person in front of us in the eye. I mean seriously. Really look at them. See them as another human being not just the server, the bank teller, the teacher or the student.
When we talk to the person in front of us we have to listen to them. We have to want to hear them and then we have to be willing to respond to what they’re saying. And not just “um hmm” or “oh that’s nice”. Sometimes we won’t know what to say, but just listening to what they’re telling us is important. I’ve been trying to take time to hear what those serving me are saying with their words, their facial expressions and their actions. On occasion I don’t say anything more to the person other than “thank you” but when I say it, I say it with sincerity and while making eye contact. To be totally honest this last week, it caught a couple of people off guard. The lady who waited on me at the grocery store the other day looked completely shocked when I looked her in the eye and said “thank you”, like no one had ever done it before.
What a difference it makes when we see others for who they really are! It makes a difference to them and to us. We gain a little perspective. We remember that life isn’t all about me me me. Showing God’s love to others should be our priority. Our focus should be outward rather than inward and on ourselves.
I would encourage you this week to purpose to make those around you feel important. When you’re rushing through the drive through or heading to the bank. Stop. Ask the person helping you how they are and really listen to what they have to say. Show them that you care. You might be the only one who does today. Pray for them as you leave. You may not know what their baggage is, but you can pray for them. Pray that they will be blessed today, pray that their load will be lightened. Thank God for them and their willingness to serve you. (Even if they didn’t do it with a smile). I promise it will change how you see others. It will change your perspective. Ask God to teach you how to really see people as He sees them. Set out to be used by God.