Just think for a moment how interesting it would be to swap eyes with someone. I’m speaking in more of a figurative way, of course. Instead of “stepping into someone else’s shoes” for a day, how much more could we gain from looking at the world through his or her eyes? It would certainly open our minds to new perspectives.
This thought started running through my mind as I listened to the song “give me your eyes” by Brandon Heath. It’s a Christian song referring to the eyes of God, and the lyrics really struck my understanding of loving your neighbor as yourself – something we are called to do.
Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city of lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touch down on the cold black-top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere, why have I never cared
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.
Give me Your eyes so I can see.
Right in the first verse and the chorus, I immediately stopped what I was doing and tried to be honest with myself about how I was loving my neighbor. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I have to consciously step back and assess how I judge others because I find myself doing that more than I would like. That’s why it was a New Year’s resolution for me this year that I wrote down and taped to my mirror. But this song had me thinking about how much I don’t know what goes on in someone’s life. There are aspects of my life that someone looking at me would probably never assume are there. It’s just part of what makes us all different.
The thing I took away most from these lyrics was that God loves us unconditionally in a way that we cannot physically comprehend as humans. He shares a love so deep that he sent his one and only son for us only to be tortured in the most painful and stressful way possible, so painful in fact that we had to create a new word to attempt to describe the torturous nature of crucifixion: excruciating.
Every time I sin, that is a separation from the God who created me. It crushes him. But he still pours out his love for me despite my going against his will. And he does that for every single person on this planet, whether they believe in him or not. Jesus didn’t die just for me, he died for that person I’m struggling to connect with because they don’t share my values or ideology. He loves them just as much as me, so I’m called to do the same.
I’ve heard many people in the community, on campus, online and in the media talk about how divided this country is because of politics and values. With those statements, I’ve heard people follow up with solutions such as hosting forums to discuss issues, posting positive stories on social media or truly listening to someone from the other side to gain a new perspective. And while I think these are all good ideas, imagine how much better our society would be if we showed our love rather than wrote our idea of love.
Let’s look at the song again. We pass people every day who are hurting, who are struggling, who are needing love. And while we all think and say that we should love them, we don’t – myself included. So I asked myself how I could start doing a better job of actively loving my neighbor, and I began with prayer. I didn’t agree with many of President Obama’s policies, but I prayed for him. I don’t think President Trump is nice guy, but I pray for him. I don’t enjoy seeing a bunch of extremely intoxicated college students outside of my apartment, but I pray for them. I pray for all of these people because it’s the first step in doing what I would want them to do for me. If someone prayed for me to find peace, comfort and joy, that would be an amazing gesture. The next step is communicating with them personally.
We can say all we want on social media, but saying that to someone’s face is a whole different situation. Someone could say, “not everyone agrees on Trump’s immigration policy, but we should all listen and be open minded to different thinking,” but that winds up being the end of it. Actually sit down and ask someone why they believe what they believe, where it stems from and give them the time of day to listen. We still might not agree, but at least there is a dialogue, and we can begin to love them as God does.
Being a journalist has helped me understand both sides of an argument because it’s my responsibility to cover the whole truth, not just the one I believe to be true. I encourage more people to do that and put themselves in uncomfortable situations to see the bigger picture and be open minded. God loves our enemies as much as he loves us, and he wants us to love each other regardless of the separation that clashing values creates. And there is no shame in asking him to help us with that. I pray about it almost every day. There’s humility in asking for help loving others. We shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for his eyes or his love to share with others. We all deserve to experience that.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Let me know if I can pray for you in any way!:) God bless.
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31