Objective #5: To teach people to see how God sees us, and how God sees those around us.
Our first considerations of this objective have pondered how God sees us. With these musings taking root, we can now shift emphasis back to the purpose of the objective: to teach people to see how God sees us.
Teach people to see.
Teach people to SEE HOW (recognize the manner in which) God sees us as children full of potentiality… and, teach people TO SEE (personally witness and observe), in the same manner in which God sees us.
Teach people to see.
To see as God sees us: As His precious children.
How can we do this, realistically, in a world which favors childhood less and less?
There are a number of obstacles already which are fairly hard-wired into human nature and social constructs. Childhood equals need, equals dependency, equals responsibility. If I see everyone around me as a child, the responsibility will overwhelm me. If I try to imagine myself a child, the dependency will overwhelm me. The vulnerability, intimacy, need and wonder of childhood may be piercingly beautiful to contemplate but is out of bounds in any relationship outside of parent and child. Throngs of people are automatically dismissed and disqualified from our ability to consider them as children because each person is someone else’s child – not my child.
Not my child. Not my responsibility. Not my place.
Rather: God’s child. God’s responsibility. God’s place.
God sees each one of us in the way a proud father sees his sons and daughters. Seeing others is as simple as recognizing that each person we encounter is loved by God.
Here’s what. Visit any cliché in our minds of any storyline where an outcast goes from being shunned to being accepted. Avoid the urge to become wrapped up studying group psychology and dynamics of acceptance, whether we feel they are inevitable or social constructs to battle against. We are only looking to pinpoint that one thing which triggers a group to shift from rejecting someone to granting them acceptance and full membership.
That one thing is being loved. Vouched for, found acceptable, and admitted.
It is a worn-out plot device, but it holds true. If even just one character from the established group looks fondly on the outcast, the invitation opens because the outcast has been rebranded – no longer distrusted, but worthy.
From cliques in school to workplace alliances to sports leagues to college fraternities to loners to introverts to convicted criminals to people with bad reputations to people in high society… no matter how you choose to group people, the game changer between included and excluded is one person declaring another worthy.
If there is someone on the outside of our circle, we may never notice that person. But, let someone in our circle extend an invitation, and our mindset changes with that one gesture acknowledging their worth.
Folks: Someone in our circle HAS extended that invitation. To every single person you will encounter today, known and unknown. That “someone” is God, and He has declared every person “loved.” We may not know them, and we may not trust them… but God does.
Our job is to remember that. Constantly. Perpetually. Repeatedly.
As God's children, we are pre-approved.
As with any invitation, this is an open gesture, not a command. So, as we glance at the person in front of us, we are called to remember that God has seen and loved that person, and invited (not commanded) them to be part of our group: “You are loved. You belong here.”
Since God loves the person in front of us, we have that endorsement that they are admissible. They are no longer strangers, but invited guests. They are loved. They belong here.
The same is true with ourselves. We are loved. We belong here. We are invited guests. Not commanded, but invited.
Even if the other people around us did not see our name on the guest list… we know with certainty it is there.
Since we are on the guest list, we can also act on our Host’s behalf when we see those who do not yet realize they, too, belong. We can reassure them they are in the right place – by invitation, not command.
How do we teach people to see how God sees us, and sees those around us? By reminding them they belong here, in God’s eyes. By telling people explicitly, or by our unspoken gestures reassuring one another of our common status as God’s invited guests.
By sharing the good news: YOU are pre-approved!
Pray: Heavenly Father, teach ME to see Your invitation – to me, and to others.
Contemplate: When we treat others as approved members of our group, who is learning to see as God sees?
Relate: How do I behave, knowing I am pre-approved by God? How do I behave, knowing others are pre-approved by God?
May the power of Divine Love shine in and through my weakness, so that He might be glorified in and through me, and that in my weakness, His power may reach perfection. Through Christ Our Lord, AMEN.
Fr. Mark P. Nolette - Spiritual Director for the Mission of Saint Thorlak