John 7:24 NLT“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
How different would things be if we could put those nine words from John 7:24 into practice? I wonder how much better our marriages, our relationships with our kids, our family relationships, and our friendships would be if we didn’t react to what we think we see happening on the surface, but took the time to peel back the layers a bit a see the heart of the matter.
How much different would life look if we didn’t rush to superficial judgements, but chose to look deeper?
Would we be so quick to get angry, assign a label, turn away, feel rejected, get hurt, or draw lines to
separate if we opened our eyes to the actual people, circumstances, and situations before we react to the behaviors we think we see?
As a mom, at times, I can be quick to discipline a behavior without ever looking into why my child acted the way he did. As a wife, occasionally, I can bristle in frustration at an action or response without ever understanding where it comes from. As a sister, daughter, co-worker, friend, and family member, I can unintentionally create division and hurt if I judge too quickly.
And if this is how I sometimes react to those I know and love when I don’t look beyond the surface before forming my judgements, imagine how my superficial assessments might affect relationships with people I’m just meeting!
This makes me so thankful for a God who looks beneath the surface, to my heart and to the brokenness of my humanity, and has abundant grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love.
Things aren’t usually how they appear at surface level. Our response changes when we uncover the heart of a person. Because that’s what love does. Love looks deeper.
Would our response be different if we took time to understand the person, the circumstances, and the
situation behind the behavior?
Maybe we’d see the fear at the root of the behavior that offended us or the insecurity behind the remark that hurt our feelings. We might see the stress and exhaustion that’s causing the attitude we don’t understand. We could uncover the pain that triggered the response that made us angry.
Maybe, if we looked beneath the surface, we’d see a tender heart and broken soul in need of the same
kind of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love that we need Jesus to extend to us in our own brokenness.
I could be a bit naïve, but I believe these nine words from John 7:24 have the power to change everything. Jesus’ way of looking into the heart of people sure was revolutionary when he was on this earth.
Just ask the blind man who was given sight, the leper who was made whole, the tax collector who became a disciple, the poor widow who gave the small tithe and was honored for her giving, the demon possessed man who was healed, the lame who could walk, the Samaritan woman who was known, or the common fishermen who became fishers of men.
I bet they were glad Jesus didn’t make snap judgements, but looked deeper.
How much differently would our lives look if we practiced this principle? How would our lives change if we loved more and judged less? Would we be slower to anger, quicker with grace, more generous with mercy, more lavish with love?
Would we open our arms a bit wider to the broken, realizing that we’re all a bit broken and we all long to be seen, known, and loved?
I’m asking these questions to myself, as I sit with the Trinity.
I’m asking Him to help me look at my own heart and to look deeper into the heart of others.
Just maybe this is a prayer we could all benefit from?
Father God, Help me to see people like you do. Give me understanding. Help me to look beneath the
surface and into the heart. Remind me that we’re all broken and we all need grace, mercy, and love.
Thank you that you looked deeper, beneath the surface, and into my heart when you saw me.
Thank you that you took the time to know my heart, and that you’re continually at work in it. Change me and make me more like you. Fill me with your grace, mercy, and love.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.