I was in a recently in a shopping mall and walked into a sunglasses store. I was trying to find a pair I really liked. It seemed like they had endless options. They had many different kinds and colors of lenses that each created a different hue. As I peered through them, it was interesting to see how different things around me looked depending on the filter of the lens.
Life is like that. People observe life through many different filters. We see things through the lens on of our heart. We each have our own and they have been tinted by life experiences. Unfortunately, too many people see things through filters shaped by hurt, disappointment, and broken trust. If we see things through tainted filters of pain, everything we see and perceive becomes slightly off.
As a young Pastor, I had a friendship with another Pastor in town. He was very good at leading people to Christ. Over time, and as I came to know him better, I realized that He was a very broken man. He had been deeply hurt over the years and it affected his lens and how he saw everything. He became somewhat callous and cynical—qualities that are not very fitting for a Pastor. He eventually became addicted to pain killers and had to leave the ministry. Prior to that time, I felt it important to help him, yet somewhat pull back so that I would not be infected by his tainted views. Relationships can influence us positively or negatively. God’s word warns us to be cautious in our associations as seen in Proverbs 22:24-25 (NIV) “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.”
Hurt in your life does change your perspective and color the lens shaping your perspective and attitude. It gives you a false perspective. Too often, people that are hurting don’t realize it. They think everyone else is the problem, when the problem is with them.
In the past two years, I spent time with two different men that were dealing with some discontentment with our church and in their life. In both cases, neither of them was involved in serving others or giving the supply from their God-given gifting. Both were lacking in meaningful relationships in the church. There were things that happened that tainted their filter and gave them a false perspective. Because of that they kept the church and the people in it at an arm’s length, and kept from being involved. In each case, I invited them to participate in a few things with me where they made some great relationships and ended up using their gifting. Before long, everything changed! They loved the church, the people, and enjoyed the sermons more than ever before. Their marriages improved, their jobs became more successful, and life was simply seen through more pure eyes.
Getting rid of old hurts, forgiving, and moving forward toward a purpose-filled life for the Lord can do that. Miraculous things can happen when we follow God’s plan. Forgiving, healing, and moving forward is a part of God’s plan. I’ve talked with people who brag about being opinionated or cynical, or sarcastic. These are people that are hurting and I guarantee you their filters are tainted. They are affecting others when they actually think they’re funny or are helping others. They can be like a person carrying a communicable disease. Their negative influence infects those close to them.
Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT reminds us of how much we all need God’s mercy and how powerful and mighty it is to receive and to give it out in our life. It is what brings daily healing. It is what keeps our lens clear and our heart pure. It helps us start each day afresh—even when we’ve really blown it the day before. It allows us to forgive ourself, and to then in turn forgive others. It says,“The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
Putting on the right glasses with the right filter that will keep your heart pure is to live a life of overlooking offense and offering constant forgiveness and mercy. We ourselves must receive God’s mercy afresh each day.
Jeremiah 17:14 (NLT) says, “Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone.” Luke 6:37 (NLT) says, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” If you live this way, the Lord will help keep your heart right with Him and with the world around you. You’ll see the world through His eyes of love and mercy.
James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is FULL of MERCY and good deeds”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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