I see you.  A basic human desire is to be seen. I am currently enjoying being a LiLi (Grandma) to our 3 month old grandson, Noah. One of the developmental milestones is when his eyes meet mine and he smiles. He understands how to see faces and, in response, delights in being seen himself. In many ways, everyone we come into contact with is wearing an invisible sign that says “Please see me. Make me feel known and understood.”

The gift of seeing others is a cultivated and learned behavior. If you wear glasses, try this experiment. Try on the glasses of a coworker or someone in your family. If your prescriptions are similar, then you see the world easily through their lens. However, if their prescription is opposite of yours, you can squint and tilt your head, but never see clearly. However, the act of trying the lenses on … trying to see the world the way they see it …. is a selfless and empathetic act. Seeing through their lens requires remaining curious as you look not just at them, but try to look through their unique lens on the world. The saying “we see the world not as it is, but as we are” is a reminder of our personal bias. We see what we expect to see in the world. This could mean we assume something about another’s education or lack thereof. Perhaps the zip code they live in causes us to have a bias about them.

Truly seeing another requires us to lay down our own lens bias and try on their lenses. For example, if you have a family member, coworker or friend that has very different political views, we can be intentional to put our lens down politically and be curious about why they are passionate in the way they see politics. This will not require debate or agreement. Only the willingness to see the world through their lenses.

What if we set an intention this summer at the beginning of every work week to choose a few meetings to really see others from their vantage point? Perhaps on a vacation with your family, you can be intentional to see what it looks like to sit where your middle schooler sits, husband or adult child. What if your next Bible study found you bringing the curiosity to seek to understand another rather than be understood yourself?

Ask God to allow you to see others the way he sees you. The Lord knows us and sees us completely. Ask Him to help you see others in a fresh and unique way.

Jeremiah 12:3 Yet you know me, LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you..

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