Seeing People — Like Jesus

“Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?’”    (Luke 7:44)

A Pharisee named Simon had invited Jesus to dinner. Not long after Jesus had sat down, “a woman in the city, who was a sinner” (7:37) began to bathe His feet with her tears.

Although Simon was interested in Jesus before dinner, he wasn’t by the end. As he watches this woman wash Jesus’ feet, he concludes that Jesus was neither a prophet nor a righteous man.

Jesus sees what’s going on in Simon’s mind. He knows Simon has judged both Him and the woman.

Jesus asks Simon, “Do you see this woman?” Although the woman is right in front of Simon, he doesn’t really see her. Simon saw what kind of person he thought she was, whereas Jesus saw who she was.

Are we more inclined to look at who a person is or at what kind of person we think they may be? Do we think more about another person’s identity, or do we put people into categories?

If we think about another person’s identity, we see they’re a child of God, a brother, and a sister, a person, like us, who needs grace.

If, however, we think about what kind or sort or type a person may be, we will judge them. If they are our kind of person, they’re safe. If they aren’t, they’re not.

Because Simon focuses on what kind of person he thought the woman to be, he was blind to who she actually is. But he wasn’t just blind to her identity; he was also blind to Jesus’ identity.

Today I encourage us to ask Jesus to help us to see like He did. When we see like Simon, our hearts and minds get smaller. When we see like Jesus, our hearts and minds get bigger and more gracious.

When we view people by what kind of person we think them to be—like Simon—we look for how they are different, which divides us. But when we view people by who they are—like Jesus—we look for what we have in common, which unites us.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you tend to look for what distinguishes or differentiates you from others, like Simon, or do you tend to look for what unites and connects you to others, like Jesus?
  1. Simon didn’t really see the woman who was right in front of him because he had already judged and categorized her. Do you really see the people right in front of you?
  1. Jesus didn’t look for what people had done wrong but for what they needed—love and grace. What would help you to more often and more deeply see like Jesus?

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