How do you see the people around you? Do you know that your perspective matters? Do you see the gold inside people or do you focus on their sins and shortcomings? A right point of view can greatly help in reaching people for Jesus. Would you like to learn how?
Some time ago, I heard an interesting story by Graham Cooke. According to Graham, he had a series of three dreams given to him, by God. He shared it with his followers and my pastor happened to read it. The story contained some great nuggets that I would like to share with you.
How does this relate to finding gold in people? Who is Graham and why am I sharing this story? Graham is a prophetic teacher and owner of Brilliant Perspective. From what I’ve seen, Graham is definitely an encourager. It’s probably why the story of the dreams stuck with me, for over 10 years.
What the heck did he say? It starts with a dusty road and a man in need of a lift into town. As he is walking, an old car pulls up and a man is heard.
The driver is an elderly gentleman driving an old Model A car. The old car has seen better days and still driveable.
The young man accepted the offer and went into town and soon regretted his decision. As they drove past the townspeople, the old man began pointing out the various sins and flaws of everyone he drove past. “Who the heck is this guy?” wonders the young man.
The old man had a clear knowledge of the Laws of Moses and could easily point to a Scripture verse validating his statement. Sadly, the old man knew nothing of the need for compassion and mercy.
Perhaps he never read Jesus’ words to the Pharisee in Matthew 9:13, “I desire mercy (or compassion); not sacrifices”. He’s actually quoting Hosea 6:6 and pointing to Micah 6:6-8. If so, he would have understood what is being said in John 3:16-19.
In some circles, such a man would be called “Captain Obvious”. Such a person will often point out all the obvious flaws and problems. Yet, this person rarely if ever lift a finger to help them solve the problem.
Does this person sound familiar? Perhaps, you may think it’s all old school. Not so fast! Graham had a second dream and here’s the second part.
The young man awoke from the first dream and asked: “What was that about?” The next day, he has another dream. He finds himself on a dusty road and he’s greeted by a young man driving a fancy looking car. He accepted the offer of a lift into town.
“At least, it is not that old guy,” thought the young man. The driver appears friendly and dressed in a very contemporary fashion. What could go wrong?
As they drive into town, the young man saw the same people, from the first dream. This time, he could see the pains and hurts written all over these people. In some people, the young man could sense the feeling of despair and hopelessness. The young man thought, “Surely, the young driver will see this and want to help.”
Sadly, the young driver gave no indication that he saw the suffering or cared. As they drove into town, the young driver seems more interested in pointing out everyone’s shortcomings. The young driver appears content to sit in judgment of the people around him. It’s clear that he never read 1 Corinthians 4:5 or Ephesians 4:28-30.
How then do we go about drawing out the gold in people? Do you suppose that I’m saying that we should ignore the problems in our family, community or nation? Am I suggesting that we ignore the issue of sin? Not so fast!
First, I am not a fan of the blissfully positive view on life. I am what’s called a realist that sees through the lens of hope. I am well aware there is no one who is without fault. That’s why we need Jesus.
For we have all fallen short or missed the mark that is God’s mark of perfection. There is no human who could come close to hitting the bullseye. By the way, I just gave you the original definition for “hhatah” or better known as “sin”. You can read about it, here. The Ancient Hebrew Research Center goes into more surprising details.
In Graham’s story, there was a third dream and it seems this photo best describes the driver. The driver was a young man, who spoke with grace, humility, and kindness. The driver recognized the problems; however, he saw the gold in people.
How should we help? How do we go about seeing the gold in people and not harp about their sins? Here is a hint from the blind community. We already know we missed the way! You don’t need to tell us!
Why did I pick on the blind community? It’s not totally out in the left-field, as you may think. It’s because people sometimes act like we’re stupid because we have limited or no eyesight. Guess who else can fit that category? The problem is, we don’t always realize what we’re stumbling over or try to handle it, ourselves.
I just gave you the first step for seeing the gold inside people. Don’t fixate on the problems that you see in people. For you do not know what’s in a person’s heart. Only God can see what’s in a man’s heart and the Holy Spirit can help us.
I am going to build on what’s being said in Ephesians 4:29-30. Why the heck would someone listen to you, if you only rip into people? How are they going to see Christ in us, if they only see a pointing finger? Do you think your mouth has no consequence beyond you? Think again!
In fact, I had an online conversation with a man who was overly sensitive to my use of a verse of Scripture. It seems he was on the receiving end of someone else’s attack and the ammo was the Word of God. It’s only because I treated him with kindness and respect that I could have any conversation.
This is not my only encounter with the misuse of Scriptures. I’ve been on the receiving end of false accusations. Though I was hurt, God helped me in confronting these religious accusers. In saying this, I feel the need to point something out.
Over the years, I had the pleasure of knowing many wonderful, kind, loving, open-minded, compassionate so-called conservatives. They are nothing like the religious accusers that I just spoke of! There is a world of difference between the two.
How can I manage to see the good in the above group of people; even though I have been hurt? It helps to have an open mind and not forget to use your brain. It also helps to have Jesus heal one’s heart and be forgiving of others. In case you missed it, I just gave you the second step.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Our human efforts can only go so far. We really need God’s perspective on what we’re seeing and not our opinions. How can this be done? The renewing of one’s mind is not a simple matter of reading and memorizing Scriptures.
It requires the work of the Holy Spirit, a heart of humility and a willingness to learn. This is not an overnight process and it will take time. You can be assured that Jesus will help you in this life long process. That’s right. We need God’s help in developing the mind of Christ.
Have you not read? Have you not heard? In Romans 8:29, Paul says “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Yes, we do have a role to play. We can welcome and cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit and receive His corrections. On the other hand, we could be stubborn and drag our feet. I prefer to cooperate with what God is doing. What about you?
As my evangelical friends will rightly point out, we need to regularly spend time reading the Bible, meditating on what we read, prayer, and be open to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. I will add this suggestion.
Spend time in God’s presence and ask the Holy Spirit to saturate you with the Father’s love for you and other people. You can do this by playing instrumental Christian worship music and simply invite God’s presence. The idea is to soak in the Father’s love for you. Be willing to listen to what God is saying to you.