My husband recently went to the eye doctor for his yearly eye examination. His eyesight changed only slightly. Unlike me, he still has “ok” vision and can see most things without glasses; however, I am practically blind without contacts or glasses. Thankfully, I wear contacts versus glasses. I am pretty, sure that if I wore glasses they would be several inches thick and look like the infamous coke bottles. After receiving his new prescription, I was excited to go to the store and have him try on new frames. His current frames were probably around eight years old and at one point he laid them on the concrete on a hot, Texas, summer day and they melted and bent out of shape. Instead of bringing them to the store to have repaired, he thought he could put them in the oven to make them pliable again. Please note that I was not home during this decision process. Although this method did work, it also melted specks of glass to the lenses making it harder to see clearly. The specks were small yet still visible and obstructive. A clearer vision was compromised due to the microscopic specks.
In Mark 14:66-72 (ESV), we read the story of Peter denying Christ three times. In this passage, Peter is approached and asked if he knew Christ and in verse 68 we find his response, “But he denied it, saying ‘I neither know nor understand what you mean.’ And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed.” When I’ve read this story in the past, I have always looked at it through the perspective of seeing Peter’s failure. And boy did he fail! Failed three times to be exact. He was asked three times if he knew Christ and three times he denied Him. Failed even when Christ warned him that it was going to happen as seen earlier in verse 30. BUT when I recently re-read that passage, I saw it through Christ’s eyes. I saw it with eyes of forgiveness! The story became less about Peter’s failures and more about Christ’s forgiveness and grace.
Isn’t it just like our human nature to focus on the problem and failure versus God’s nature to focus on forgiveness and grace? It is all about vision – what lenses are you looking through? Are minuscule specks impeding a clearer view? Are you using 20/20 grace vision?
Life can get messy and when it does our vision can get blurry and murky from the lenses we are viewing it through. People can do and say hurtful things and next thing you know there is a speck on our lenses. Our boss lets us go at our job – there is a speck. A friend or loved one passes away – another speck. A spouse is unfaithful – a couple more specks appear. Next thing you know, you can barely see. Your vision has been compromised. You don’t see yourself or others how God sees – eyes of love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
The first speck or two seem barely noticeable. It may only bother you when you look in certain directions – specific circumstances and people. The same people that may have caused the specks to appear are the ones that you can no longer look at clearly without being reminded of the pain. We look at them or the situation and see failure.
Isn’t it the same story of our lives? We are so hard on ourselves. We look at our life and see failure. One speck may represent a bad grade on a paper and we see failure. Another speck may serve as a reminder of a time we lost our temper with our children. Each speck produces a feeling of regret and failure. Every time we look in the mirror and out of our lenses, we are reminded of each disappointment. Many times, it can seem overwhelming, to the point that we just give up thinking we are unworthy. Unworthy of God’s love and best plans for our lives because all we see through our lenses is dirty and unclean. Looking at ourselves in a mirror is no longer a true representation of who we are because we have yet to clean our lenses. Or better yet, we haven’t allowed God to clean them for us?
John 1:16 (ESV) has become one of my most treasured verses to read. It says, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Isn’t that great news? That no matter how many times we muddle our view that Christ extends “grace upon grace” and wipes it clean again that we may view ourselves as He saw Peter – Forgiven. That we may view others as forgiven!
I challenge you today to view your life through new lenses. View them through Christ’s lenses of forgiveness. View those around you with the same lenses. It’s time to look past the hurt, the cruel words, the wrongdoing and forgive. Forgive so you can move on. Forgive so they can move on. Isn’t that what Christ did for you? It’s time to start viewing our life, and those around us, with the perspective of forgiveness rather than failure.