The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Lens of Christ"
"We seek to see others through the lens of the Lord Jesus Christ, the maker and sustainer of every human being."
We will find no Scriptural license to belittle or humiliate another human being. Instead, the Apostle Peter calls us to an attitude, demeanor, and bestowal of respect toward all.
"Honor all men" (I Peter 2:17).
In a world of human beings who all, including ourselves, sometimes act shamefully and disrespectfully, Peter's mandate may seem counterintuitive. Honor all? How can we possibly respect those who make a mockery of integrity, decency, and a life lived in acknowledgment of God and His rightful calling to honor Him?
We first do so by setting and maintaining our focus on Him as we view people. We seek to see others through the lens of the Lord Jesus Christ, the maker and sustainer of every human being. "In Him we live and move and have our being" declared the Apostle Paul to those who did not know the Lord (emphasis added). God also gives "to all life and breath and all things." The Lord Jesus gave His life for all, and our Heavenly Father would have all come to Him in repentance and faith (Acts 17:25; 28; I John 2:2; I Timothy 2:4). These and many other aspects of truth grind and polish the lens of honor through which our Heavenly Father calls to see people. Certainly, we do not ignore the realities of sin. However, we heed God's calling to honor all by directing our focus to Him and His gracious and merciful view of people despite their - our - too frequent failures to act honorably. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20).
"The Lord looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7). There He sees the Spirit of the Lord Jesus in those who believe. There He desires to see the Spirit of the Lord Jesus in those who do not. He does not overlook sin and its disgraces. Nor does His redeeming heart and inclination mean that His wrath does not and will not fall upon unrighteousness and those who embrace it. "The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18). His first gaze, however, sees into the spiritual depths of human beings with a keen view toward His own handiwork regarding the humanity originally made in His own image. We must join our Heavenly Father, honoring Him as we "honor all men" in obedience to Him, and seeing more clearly through the lens of Christ. "To be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).
We do not compromise righteousness by such a view. We rather confirm it. Yes, when God made a human race with eternal intentions and purposes, He did not cast us aside when we rebelled against Him. He rather worked, at the highest cost to Himself and in perfect devotion to His righteous integrity, to redeem us from the shame of our unbelief and disobedience. This includes every one of us, including those we see who seem to have most deeply descended most deeply into darkness. We do not honor the descent. But we do honor the Lord who Himself descended more deeply into darkness than all others for purposes of redemption. To "honor all" is to honor Him and His view of all. Thereby, we will pray and witness and love with respect as we see through the lens ground and polished by grace, truth, righteousness, and mercy, that is, through the lens of Christ.
"And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people."
Weekly Memory Verse
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.