Job 16:10 (ESV)
Men have gaped at me with their mouth;
they have struck me insolently on the cheek;
they mass themselves together against me.
Job 17:1 (ESV)
“My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;
the graveyard is ready for me.
Job 17:14-15 (ESV)
if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’
where then is my hope?
Who will see my hope?
Job’s adversity caused people around him to shun him, and mistreat him. His spirit was broken. He had almost given up hope. Here is a man who had everything. In our day he would be the equivalent of the CEO of a large corporation. He was the man everyone went to for help. Now people spit on him as they walk by. What do you see when you drive past a homeless person? What do you see when you walk by a drunk on the street? Do you ever wonder about who they are, where they have been, and what they have done in life? Or, do you avoid them and walk on?
Over the years, I have had many conversations with those less fortunate than myself. Two thoughts have occurred to me. First, that could be me. If things had just been a little different it could easily be me living on the street with nowhere to call home. At what point would I just give up and stop trying? The second thought that occurred to me is that these are people created in the image of God. They are of value no matter how dirty, how hopeless, or how little motivation they have to change. They are often people with surprising backgrounds, training, and experiences. Sometimes circumstances got the better of them. Sometimes their own choices took them down this road. But, they are people.
It is easy to smell the stench of unwashed clothes and see the dirt of living on the street, and not see the person. How many people who walked by Job saw a man of great wisdom? How many simply saw the sores, and the ashes, and the hopelessness? How would Jesus see him? In Jesus’ day people saw a little, despicable tax man. Jesus saw Zacchaeus and said, “I must stay at your house today,” and “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:1-10). In John 4 when Jesus met the woman at the well, people saw an immoral woman. Jesus saw a broken woman who had value. She became an evangelist to her whole city. When the woman in Luke 7 washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, people saw an immoral woman. Jesus saw brokenness, worship, and faith.
Maybe it is time that we stop looking at others through our own eyes, our own expectations, and our own experience. Maybe it is time to ask God to help us see as Jesus sees. Maybe it is time to see others through eyes of grace instead of judgment. Maybe it is time to make this our daily prayer, “Father help me to see, think, and speak with grace and peace today.” After all, where would we be if he gave us what we deserved?