Hey, this is John Ortberg and this is passage to wisdom. And today I want to invite you to practice seeing, I want you to learn how to become an excellent seer, and I want to work on that together with you. And in particular, I want to work on what do I see when I look at another human being, we will sometimes ask a question, like, what does she see in him? Or what does he see in her? Like, what is it that is apparent to that person when they gaze at somebody else, there’ll be certain folks Scouts in athletics or teachers who are particularly gifted at being able to see what lies within another person. What could they potentially become? There will be stories, very moving to us elephant, man, if you’ve ever seen that movie story of John Merrick, whose physical deformities, uh, masked for many, many people in the nobility of soul, the greatness of spirit that he carried that could bless anybody.
If they only had the eyes to see, there was a movie made way back in the early thirties, 1932 by Todd Browning called freaks. And it was contrasting, uh, some characters in it set in a circus, some characters whose bodies might look quite beautiful, the strong man or an Acrobat with other characters who were thought to be freaks because of their body, uh, little people or what were then called Siese twins or microcephalic people with very small heads who then as the movie would showed, were actually creatures made and loved by God. When I look at another person, what do I see C sometimes I might just see where they came from. And in our day, often the macro world view that people carry with them is vaguely informed by, uh, science and evolution. And they might think that’s all there is, is origins. There are certain writers who will make a lot about the fact that human beings have. Uh, I was reading this week 98.8% DNA in common with chimps. And sometimes that’s taken to me. There’s only like taken to mean there’s only a 1% difference between human beings and chimps, but of course human beings might be, become something that a Chimp is not gonna become.
And, uh, another way of looking at people is to see what might they become. And that brings us to the passage that I want to read today. This is actually from an essay by CS Lewis. We’ve been walking through screw tape letters and a big part of screw tape letters is learning to see human beings in terms of their ultimate destiny, the potential that lies within each one of us, and that will make us see people differently. And this is one of the most wonderful passages about human death than he ever written. It’s from a great essay that CS Lewis wrote called the weight of glory. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses. To remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature, which if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet. If at all, only in a nightmare all day long, we are in some degree helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities. It is with the awe and circumspection proper to them that we should conduct all our dealings with one another. All friendships, all loves, all play all politics. There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mirror, mortal nations, cultures, arts civilizations. These are mortal and their life is to ours as the life of Ann net, but it is immortals whom we joke with work with marry snub and exploit immortal horrors or everlasting SPLs. This does not mean we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play, but our Merryman must be of that kind. And it is in fact, the Mar is kind, which exists between people who have from the outset taken each other. Seriously, no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love with deep feeling for the sins. In spite of which we love the sinner, no mere tolerance or indulgence, which parody love as flippancy parody, ment next to the blessed sacrament itself next to the body that was broken and the blood that was shed your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your sense, if he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way for, in him also is Christ the glorify and the glorified Glor himself truly hidden. So today, when you run into people, when you talk to somebody, when you email them, ask what do I see in him or in her
George McDonald, the writer at a character in one of his books named Curdy, the princess and Curdy and Curdy is given a supernatural gift where, when he touches someone, when he shakes their hand, takes them. By the hand, he is able to feel by their hand, what they are becoming. And sometimes there will be a creature that looks quite loathsome, but when he touches their hand, he realize this person is becoming a magnificent prince or princess, or there’ll be other times when he’s in the presence of somebody who is physically amazingly beautiful. But when he touches their hands, he realizes their soul is on its way to becoming something awful, tragic, horrible, repulsive, lost. It is immortals with whom we live every day joke, snub exploit. Um, we betray the value of what we’re dealing with by the care that we show when we’re dealing with it. I was recently borrowing a car from somebody and it was way more expensive than my car. I drive a 2009 Honda accord. I’m not particularly careful with my car, but this car, uh, like when I parked at a parking lot, I would park it about a block away from any other car. I would drive it very carefully, very cautiously in the slow lane. I did not want to damage this car.
What do I see when I look in the eyes of people? How often do I do damage? Cuz I just think not very important, not very attractive or maybe somebody who could be useful to me. It’s interesting. When we look at a baby to the mother and father of that little child is given the gift of seeing something precious. Um, somebody said to Winston church at one time, uh, I have a baby and it looks just like you in his response was Madam all babies look like me
When Churchill was a baby. One of the sad things, if you read about his life is that his father and his mother had very little time for him ironically in Victorian England. Although we, uh, tend to praise the Victorian family in the aristocracy, parents were very distant to their children often would not even be around them unless there were servants there for brief times during the day, even by those standards, Churchill was just, uh, largely ignored, neglected his father in his own words, thought that Winston was retarded. Uh, his mom, uh, was uh, much more interested in society carrying on affairs with the aristocracy of England. What Churchill had was a, a nurse, a nanny, Mrs. Everest. She was called, he called a womb. It was the close as he could get to saying woman. And she was the fireside before whom he was comforted in whose presence. He cried his tears. She saw something in him and loved him when he died 70 years after she did her picture was at the table by his bedside. And it makes you wonder because of the role that Churchill played in galvanizing England to stand up to Hitler and Nazi Germany, what the history of the west might have been like what our world might be like if Mrs. Everest, if womb did not see something great in that little child that everybody else overlooked.
So now today, what will I see in the people that I meet? Take a moment right now. Think of a good friend of yours. Somebody that you care about, somebody that brings joy to you and think of one quality that you see in them. That is a good thing that you can call out and encourage now little tougher, take a moment and think of an extra grace required person in your life. Someone that’s difficult for you, someone that you’re angry at, maybe perceive as an enemy. What do you see in them? What does God see in them? Cuz they’re still a human being made as in his image and take a moment to think of one good quality in that person that you can see that you can thank God for today. And then a third level, take a look inward. I look at me, you look at you. I am on my way to becoming, this is just the truth. Um, either a creature of character that will be like Jesus,
Or the kind of creature that we meet. Now, if at all, only in a nightmare, what could lead me in those two directions? What is it that could lead me today on a path to love and to joy and to being honest and truthful or what could lead me away from God into small mindedness and pettiness and self and ego. God give me eyes to see today, to see myself as you do honestly, and to see Jesus hidden in my neighbor. What are you gonna see today? I hope it’s really, really good. Have a great day.