Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17 NIV
Cover photographs on news magazines often trouble me so much I quickly turn them over or fold back the pages. I hold the magazines so those difficult images remain outside my line of vision. Although I read the articles, I don’t want to see the pictures. Rather than eyes wide open, I choose to close my eyes.
It’s easier to continue with the demands of my busy day than to stop and let the details of a tragedy change my heart and spur me to action.
While attempting to protect myself from viewing what many in our world live on a daily basis, I wonder how closely my reaction mirrors other believers. When presented with pressing needs around us, do we prefer not to see or hear about them? Do we ignore the pain involved? Does our comfort level take precedence over meeting the situation’s demands and remaining faithful to what God has called all of us to do?
When similar television clips appear I find it tempting to leave the room or change the channel. The depictions of war, flooding, famine, earthquakes, life-threatening illnesses, ethnic violence, poverty, cruelty, and overall despair overwhelm me. This is especially true when the camera focuses on the victims’ faces.
Like Ananias, we offer our excuses for directing our attention elsewhere. “It’s too hard.” “It’s too dangerous.” “Lord, you don’t know what you’re asking.” Like Saul, we find security in our preconceived ideas about those different from us. We know we should remove our blinders, but it’s easier to keep them on.
We read about, study, and discuss our model in the life of Jesus. He waded into the crowds of humanity and faced situations with eyes wide open. Jesus sought those who were hurting — whether from their own poor choices or other life circumstances. He reached out in love and showed compassion to people of all ages and backgrounds. He did what needed to be done, in order to demonstrate unconditional love for all, regardless of the personal discomfort or cost.
Ananias had no compassion for Saul. Saul had no compassion for Christians. Nevertheless, Jesus had great compassion for both. He loved them enough to die for them. He loved them enough to challenge them to reach out to others in Jesus’ name – whether they wanted to or not.
Can we do anything less? To make a difference requires commitment to Jesus and a decision to follow his example — to tackle unpleasant realities, disturbing though they may be.
Both Ananias and Saul had a choice. Would they remain committed to a false view of the world, or would they see through Jesus’ eyes and allow his Spirit to live in them? We face that same choice.
Ananias made a difference in Saul’s life when he touched him in Jesus’ name. Saul made a difference in the Gentile world when he allowed Jesus to remove the scales from his eyes.
We, too, can make a difference in our world, but we have to be willing to keep our eyes wide open. Let’s align our vision with and remain faithful to that of our Lord, despite the difficulties.
God, help me see with Your eyes and love with Your heart.