Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seeing What God Sees

Source: Uncommon Decency by Richard Mouw. Intervarsity Press, 1992. pg 58-59.
Keywords: vision, sight, kingdom of God,

"A few years ago my wife and I joined several missionary families in Haiti for a retreat. One afternoon we drove through the countryside in a Land Rover, and I sat in the back with the missionaries' children. Two of them were beautiful twin Haitian girls who had been adopted after they were abandoned as babies on a missionaries' doorstep.

As we rode along, the children began to sing Sunday school songs: "Jesus Loves Me," "Jesus Loves the Little Children," "This Little Light of Mine," and so on. I sang along until they started on this song:

O be careful, little eyes, what you see
O be careful, little eyes, what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
O be careful, little eyes, what you see.

The verses went on: "O be careful, little ears, what you hear...O be careful, little feet, where you go...O be careful, little tongue, what you say..."

This ditty had always struck me as much too negative: Don't see this. Don't touch this. Don't walk there. And as I listened to it in this Land Rover, I looked out the window and saw some fo the most desperate poverty that any human being could experience. Rows and rows of shanties unfit for human habitation. Malnourished bodies. Faces marked by despair and hopelessness. The sights and smells of decay and death.

Isn't it ironic? I thought. Here we are passing through scenes of horrible human degradation, and we are singing a negative little spiritual song about all the things that we ought not to be doing as Christians!

Then suddenly I realized there is a very different way of understanding this song. I had always interpreted it as a set of "don'ts." But it could just as easily be understood as a series of "do's." Be careful to see what God sees. Be careful to hear what God hears. Be careful to go where God goes...

Then I realized these children were singing about a very active Christiainity. These two little Haitian girls had become members of this missionary community precisely because that community was willing to see, hear and touch in a God honoring way."

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