"We need to look at people in two ways. We need to love them as they are, and not as we would like them to be, and at the same time we need to see them as they could become in Christ."
-David Watson, I Believe in Evangelism (Hodder and Strougton, 1976), 93.
I hear your concern, Andrew. You could read this quote, which is just a snippet of an entire book, and perceive that the two ways don’t actually go together… that they would cancel each other out.
But the “in Christ” phrase does really impact the statement. In the end of things, we shouldn’t want to see people the way we would like them to be… we should want to see people made into the people Jesus wants them to be.
The “two ways” of seeing people should include ourselves. We should look at ourselves these ways simultaneously. One without the other is not appropriate. If we accept ourselves for who we are (sparkles and warts) but fail to see ourselves as who Christ wants us to be, then we’ll fail to become who we could become. If we only see ourselves as this standard that is too high for us to humanly achieve, then we will fail to accept the beauty of the creation that we ourselves are.
So I suppose the two ways are an intersection of heaven and earth. The first way is the human state, the second is the recreated touch of divinity. We must see both… and love both.
I am not entirely sure that I enjoy the quote that you have here Ken. Don’t get me wrong, I think that people can become something amazing with Christ, and I also find it ridiculously hard to love all of the people that I see around me with Christ’s love, but I think that the bigger issue is just what happens at the end of the quote.
People are not always exactly who they are, and we do need to be pushing each other to reach that final and better goal, but I believe that God made everyone uniquely and it is that unique end that we should be pushing for. I know it is semantics and has very little play in many theological minds as it is in Christ that the true and unique individual finds their full form, but I don’t know that I buy in to that fully yet. Adam was not content with the world AND God all the time. Why do the words ‘in Christ’ change the meaning enough to deepen the thought to a life changing quote?
Just musings.. Please dont hate me.
Well said, James B. We must first be so changed by Jesus that we can’t help but to see others in the light of his love… or at least to be so convicted by his love that we are compelled to get rid of our own selfish love.
Thanks for the blessing on the hub, James. I appreciate it very much, my friend!
We can only do this if we realize that Christ loves us as we are, and as we see in ourselves what we were created in Christ to become.
This is a lot easier when someone with flesh and blood taps us on the shoulder and shows us love and encourages us to become who we were meant to be in Christ, and keeps doing it until we get it. We may be slow learners, but we all can learn eventually that we are loved. One of the biggest problems in the church today, is that we are told that we are to love one another, but nobody bothers to show us any love.
Ken, my prayer is that The Hub would continue to be a place of community, and that all who are part of that community would not only know the love of Christ theologically but would practically experience the length and breadth and height and depth of Christ’s love over and over and over again.