Seeing Through New Eyes

SOME TIME AGO, I WATCHED a particular episode of the TV medical drama “House.” In the series, actor Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House—a crotchety doc seemingly devoid of bedside manner but a brilliant diagnostician nonetheless.

In the episode, entitled “Human Error,” Dr. House tells a husband that his wife is technically dead and being kept alive only by machine assistance. The time has come, House says, to let her go.

The machine is shut down, and the husband sobs as he leans across his wife, embracing her as he tells her a final goodbye. Suddenly, he feels her heart beating—on its own. Long story short: she lives, Dr. House discovers the rare heart condition that caused her apparent death, and corrects it.

In the scene where the husband tells his wife goodbye, it struck me again—as it has countless times during my life—how priceless is the value of a single human life. It’s through personal loss and not just fictional drama, of course, that this point has been repeatedly driven home.

Our God, thankfully, never loses sight of the value of life—He is the one who gave it and is its source. And He never loses sight of the value of each person—He is the reason each of us are here. He is the one who died for us personally—individually.

But sometimes, we don’t seem to value each other much. So often, even those who lose a spouse, child, parent, or other loved one in death wish afterward with regret that they had treated their loved one better. If only…

As I’ve traveled through life, some people haven’t rated very high in my estimation. Some, I’ve had very negative thoughts and feelings about. I’ve resented people. I’ve been angry with people. And some, I’ve felt genuine contempt for (somehow, politicians often end up on this list of mine).

These attitudes of mine are wrong—I freely admit. And I routinely have to confess and repent as I bring these things to God.

Suppose I come across someone I just can’t stand—and find that person trapped in a burning car. I’m quite certain that even if I recognized them, I’d do all I could to get them out. So maybe I too value human life.

If so, why can’t I also value the worth, the individuality, of every person I meet, know, or even hear about? Someone in his family—perhaps his daughters—doubtless grieved when Saddam Hussein died. He mattered to them. He also mattered to God, who gave him life and died so the dictator could have the chance to live forever.

Some people seem just plain evil. Some have personalities that grate like nails on a blackboard. Some are so arrogant and full of themselves it’s nauseating. Some go out of their way to hurt and lie about other people. Some seem riddled with bigotry…with hostility toward anyone not exactly like themselves.

But the fact remains that every person that I—that we—despise or even just dislike, is precious to somebody. Through somebody’s eyes, that person is priceless and quite wonderful.

That’s how God sees each of us.

And how God sees me (despite my flaws) is how I need to see others and wish I did. But it will never happen as long as I see them through my own sinful and selfish eyes (eye trouble that is really “I” trouble).

I need to see them—as Amy Grant sings—through my Father’s eyes:

She’s got her Father’s eyes,
Her Father’s eyes;
Eyes that found the good in things,
When good was not around;
Eyes that found the source of help,
When help would not be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through,
And feeling it the same.

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