Who You See is Who You Receive
We come in contact with people every day. Some we know, most we don’t. Immediately upon meeting someone for the first time, we form an impression. As human beings, we tend to make quick judgments about people when we first meet them. We tend to “size them up.”
Unfortunately, we all tend to be a bit judgemental before we have any real facts. We tend to believe the first thing that we hear about a situation or a person.
The way we perceive someone is the way that we will receive someone.
A very interesting passage of scripture says that Jesus came to his own people (the Jews) but they did not receive him (John 1:11). Why didn’t they receive Jesus? What does this really mean anyway?
In this context, it means that they didn’t believe Jesus to be who he said that he was. He claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God. Some of the Jews of his time didn’t believe that about him. They didn’t receive him as such.
I don’t have enough time to write about the many reasons why they didn’t receive him as he claimed to be. One reason I would like to focus on is that he didn’t fit their idea of what a Messiah should look like. They had their opinions and ideas of what the Messiah would do when He came on the scene. They thought that he would set up Israel as a dominant kingdom again, kick out the Romans and destroy all of Israel’s enemies. They wanted to be on top and was expecting the Messiah to take them there.
But Jesus wasn’t like that at all. He didn’t come as a regal king or a victorious, conquering hero. He came as a nobody, someone that everyone would overlook. He didn’t meet their expectations, which caused them not to receive him.
Is it any different with us today in how we receive people? We all have our ideas of how people should act, behave, look, think, etc. When someone doesn’t do things within our sphere of comfort we tend to look at them differently. We stop seeing the things that make them an individual, created in the image of God to be loved, valued and accepted. We now see them as strange, different, unlike us. We can even make them the enemy if you will.
We don’t even realize that we are doing it. We form an impression about someone and our impression is what determines how we will receive that person.
For example, I have been told through the years that people’s first impression of me was that of a closed off, uptight, intimidating person. While I know that I can be that way at times, that is not the real me. However, their impression of me kept them from receiving me for who I really am. If they were intimidated by me then they are not going to be open and vulnerable around me. They will not receive me.
My point is that we must be careful on how we see people because, if not seen correctly, then we may just miss a blessing or a new friend. As a follower of Christ, I must look at people through his eyes. He sees the good in people. He sees the worth in people. He sees Himself in people because they are made in his image and likeness.
I tend to see the bad in them. I tend to see the things I don’t like. I tend to see what makes me uncomfortable when I am around them. I tend to see the things we disagree about.
The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthian church, instructs the believers there to regard no man after the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16). He said that we once regarded Christ that way, but we don’t any longer. He said that Jesus died for everyone, putting us all in the same boat. Because of that, we are not to look at anyone according to what they have or don’t have, how they act or don’t act, how they look or don’t look. We looked at Jesus that way and we go it wrong.
We still get it wrong when we don’t receive people for who they are….a fellow, broken human being just getting through life. I am not saying that we are going to like everyone, and we definitely won’t agree with everyone, but we can receive people as Jesus does….loved, valued, accepted and forgiven.
It’s not going to be easy but it can be done.