Through the Lens
Everything that you and I see is interpreted based on how we see it. In fact the way by which we can see anything at all is through the lenses in our eyes – without lenses we could not see anything at all and would be blind.
Think for instance of a camera lens. Perhaps in this day and age with invention of smart phones we have forgotten what a camera lens is, but I trust most of us have looked through a camera lens at least once and captured a memory in color! That’s what my brothers do with their cameras as they film videos and capture photos (or as in the picture above – take a photo of me taking a photo with my iPhone! Well, I asked for it to be taken 🤣). Using a camera lens properly is how my sister has such a brilliant Instagram and website. Let’s keep it real here, I love photos, but I am not very good at properly using a camera lens in order to get professional photography, but my siblings are!
Anyway, perhaps you have already thought of the most commonly known, commonly used, and brilliantly designed multifaceted lens in the universe – our eyes. Have you ever stepped back in wonder and awe at our Creator who thought up and invented the eye with such a perfect complex and intricate lens? Think about it for a minute, your eyes are currently reading my post and your brain is interpreting the words you are seeing (hopefully you got this far in my post and didn’t just hit like and keep on scrolling!) but the point is clear, our eyes are a masterpiece.
So why am I talking about eyes right now? In the midst of a devastating global pandemic and amidst racial tension and injustice, can we learn anything from our eyes? Let’s find out…
You see the main way how we interpret facts all around us is through our eyes. Jesus put it this way, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
If our lenses are off, our sight is off, our perspective is off, and thus our understanding and interpretation of facts is warped at best.
You see Jesus asked, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
As we watch what is going on in the world we are quick to judge and come to our own conclusions, and so many times we are out to fix little specks in our brothers’ eyes to “help them see clearly” while completely missing the huge log in our own eye that is hindering us much worse from seeing things clearly.
You see the lens by which we need to interpret everything we see is the Word of God, the Bible. In Psalm 119:105, the Psalmist speaks of God’s Word “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
You see God sees things so much clearer than we do. “He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?” (Psalm 94:9) The more time we spend reading God’s Word the Bible the more clearly we can see. We need to be humble before God and ask Him to help us see clearly and be willing for Him to show and asking for Him to show us our blind spots – the log in our eye.
Lately, many of us have become aware of the prevalence of injustice in our world today. Some of us already knew about it, and others of us didn’t or didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
But either way, whether we knew or didn’t know, now we know. So what are we going to do about it? What should we do about it?
I am going to be honest with you all, I have been very grieved by how many people are using this time as an opportunity to justify ourselves. I know the issues of injustices make us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we are at a loss of how to handle them. I have been devastated myself.
But I know this, Hebrews 1, in verse 9 says that Jesus “loved righteousness and hated wickedness;”
I know that Jesus has a heart for the oppressed “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:9-10)
I know that “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.” (Psalm 103:6)
From these passages we can see clearly that God has a heart for justice. But we are about to see God holds us responsible for this justice as well… “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
So we can clearly see here that God has heart for justice and He is holding us responsible for the upholding of His justice and judgment.
But here is where I think we start trying to justify ourselves. We say, I am not predjudice, I never treated anyone unfairly, I never was violent or hurtful, and if that is you – well done. But can I appeal to all of us, that in line with what the Bible says in Romans 3:23 that we have all sinned and that none of has walked perfectly and we all need God’s grace. Can I appeal to you in love to search your own heart and to plead “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
And as you allow God to search your heart, if He shows you that you really are innocent in this area of your life, can I appeal to you to walk in humility and not justify yourself before men, but to be proactive and intentional to speak up for those who are oppressed. The passage in Proverbs about delivering those who are ready to be killed calls for action.
You see, we all deserve the just wrath of God for our sins and without His mercy what we deserve in holy justice is His wrath for all eternity.
But Jesus was proactive and intentional and as the Son of God being the only one who could die in perfection in our place He came down to earth to be one of us and die receiving the sentence of justice from His Father that we all deserve for our sins upon Himself that in His mercy we can be forgiven simply by faith in Him alone and have peace with God. Jesus did this for us without compromising or denying His justice and righteousness by bearing the ultimate wrongful injustice of man and the ultimate holy justice of God that we might stand forgiven.
And Christ Jesus is calling us to Himself to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and die to ourselves that we might live for Him. He is calling us to suffer reproach from men as He did, but also the glory and presence of His Father as He does and He has promised us everlasting life if we simply trust in Him with all our hearts by faith.
This Jesus leaves us no excuse to justify ourselves before men because He as God Himself knows our hearts and knows all things. Just because we haven’t committed injustice, doesn’t mean we have worked for justice. And even if we have done both we are still called to humility.
This Jesus leaves us no room as privileged people to mock the cries of the oppressed because He didn’t He came and was mocked Himself and He calls us to follow His example.
I am going to be direct here, this is why I personally hate the slogan “All Lives Matter.” Many of us know that the organization “Black Lives Matter” supports things that are unbiblical. I completely agree and personally I don’t represent BLM because of that.
But can I appeal to you in light of the Word of God to hear the heart behind the cry “black lives matter!” Is everything being done properly? Of course not. But what is the heart behind it? People are asking to be treated with fairness, honor, and dignity and that is Jesus’ heart as well so that should be ours.
The reason why I hate the slogan “all lives matter” is because that is an attack on something the true oppressed never said – they never said the other lives don’t matter, they simply are asking for fairness and for love. They know as well as us that all lives matter, but saying “All lives matter” in rebuttal of BLM I believe is mocking the cries of the oppressed an spitting words in their mouth that they never said and far be it from us to mock the oppressed lest the Lord who defends and executes judgment for the oppressed turn His justice toward us who mock and refrain from obeying His Word and working actively against injustice and for righteousness for the glory of God in all the earth.
Jesus said that His followers will be known by our love. I don’t mean what the world says is love. The world’s version of love is inclusive and doesn’t confront sin and evil, but the love of Christ constrains us to confront sin and evil and to actually suffer evil and injustice as He did. Let us never give up any truth from the Bible as it is the standard of truth itself and compromise in our attempt to show God’s love (or else it really isn’t love).
I mean what Jesus says is love. That love means speaking the truth – even if it hurts. But that love also means laying down our life. Getting off of our comfortable complacencies and getting down into trenches. That is what Jesus did for us. He left His glorious throne in Heaven to pay a price He was not required to pay – all for love. Let us live like Him.
And can I appeal to you to listen lovingly to others who don’t agree with you with a desire to learn. You don’t have to agree, but you are called to love all and how can you love if you are unwilling to listen and stop your ears to the cries of those you are trying to love. How else can we weep with those who weep if we don’t listen and don’t have compassion.
Let us live in passionate love for Christ and for all since that is His heart. Let us follow Christ and suffer and die and work unceasingly for His glory and His love and His praise in all the earth until that day when Christ shall return to earth as King and will Himself set all things right once and for all for He is King of kings and Lord of lords and He is worthy of our ALL.
Through the Lens