Jesus did it all the time, he “looked, he saw, he gazed” at people. The comment made by one of my companions in Haiti the last week was, “When the Haitian people look at you they look right into your eyes.” Many Haitian people could not look or would not look at us. I have learned over numerous mission experiences outside of my native culture that my primary mission tool are my eyes. I think it was much the same way with Jesus. Luke remembers and then writes in his Gospel an incident that occurred in the synagogue, “And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over . . .”
– Luke 13:11-12
“Jesus saw her . . .” My daughter was recently telling me of her experience on a subway in New York city. A man who was talking to himself, walking up to people on the subway and pointing, and speaking to them. Each person doing their best to distance and pretend he wasn’t there, that he didn’t exist. As I walked through the streets and rubble of Haiti I tried not to close my eyes. I did as I often do, I looked into the faces, into the eyes of people the world would just as soon forget. A people who have been pushed aside, a people disregarded, a people who have gotten used to being ignored. That takes a toll on the humanity and dignity, it takes its toll, it cripples the Spirit of a creature made in the image of God.
The beginning of hope, the beginning of a raised Spirit, a raised human being happens when someone will look deep into their brokenness and SEE there a child of God. It can be hard to locate, hard to find in the midst of the rubble and ruin of a place like Haiti. I saw as I looked into the faces and eyes desperation, yes. I also saw a frustration and even anger. But I also saw hope. More than that I saw a people created in the Holy image of God. Healing begins with a look, with a gaze, with one human being finding in the eyes of another, the dignity and holiness that God intended for each of us to walk this earth with.
I think it important that you take seriously how you see another. I am convinced their lives depend on it, that their ability to stand straight before God might have everything to do with how you and I look at each other. Here’s lookin’ at you.