Finding the Treasure
For many years I have been challenged by something Fyodor Dostoyevski wrote: “To love someone means to see him as God intended him [or to see her as God intended her].”
It’s a great quote, but I have difficulty with it because my vision is not at all like God’s. I do not see others the way God sees them.
I look at a person, see a hardened face, and I assume the person is angry at me or at the world, and I stay away. But what I interpret as a hardened face might be a face that is straining to hold back tears because the person has been deeply hurt.
I look at a person, see someone who shies away from me, and I conclude that this person is aloof or arrogant. But it could be that he or she is scared.
I look at a person, see the earbuds in the ears and a hoodie covering much of the face, and I assume the person is self-absorbed. But it could be the person is lonely.
I look at a person who is loud and annoying, and I assume he or she is brash and rude. But it might be that the person is actually desperate for someone who will care about him or her.
My vision is not good. I fail to see a person as God intended him or her to be. I fail to see what God sees in the person’s heart.
Max Lucado points out, “We condemn a man for stumbling this morning, but we didn’t see the blows he took yesterday. We judge a woman for the limp in her walk but cannot see the tack in her shoe. We mock the fear in their eyes but have no idea how many stones they have ducked or darts they have dodged. Are they too loud? Perhaps they fear being neglected again. Are they too timid? Perhaps they fear failing again. Too slow? Perhaps they fell the last time they hurried. You don’t know.” (In the Grip of Grace, p. 40)
According to Wanda Vassallo, “A gem dealer was strolling the aisles at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show when he noticed a blue-violet stone the size and shape of a potato. He looked it over, then, as calmly as possible, asked the vendor, ‘You want $15 for this?’ The seller, realizing the rock wasn’t as pretty as others in the bin, lowered the price to $10. The stone has since been certified as a 1,905-carat natural star sapphire, about 800 carats larger than the largest stone of its kind. It was appraised at $2.28 million.”
I look at people the way most people looked at that gem. I see only “the size and shape of a potato.” But God perceives the true and incredible value of each person.
So what do I need to do?
I need to approach each person realizing that, hidden beneath the surface, is a treasure in each person. Then I need to take the interest and the time to listen to the person’s heart and the person’s story, for it is in listening to the person’s heart and story that the treasure may be found.