My first year of high school was not particularly kind. Change comes hard to a shy, insecure freshman who is trying to disguise the flaws of her broken out adolescent face under layers of foundation. Ugly, awkward, and plain were words I whispered to myself. Being near-sighted and self-conscious kept me from wearing my geeky cat eye glasses. I wore them only when necessary. Squinting became my go to as I negotiated the long, endless, crowded halls of school.
To further complicate matters, I had left the safe cocoon of a Catholic school where I had known the same students for the first eight years of my education. Now, I hardly saw them. Feeling like an obscure unseen nobody among a sea of unfamiliar faces put my heart in a precarious position.
Lunch time was a nightmare met with feelings of dread and panic as I frantically perused the lunchroom for a familiar face. My stomach was often in knots at the thought of eating alone. Sometimes I felt the icy stares of the cool girls as they assessed the outfit that I had painstakingly picked out that morning. I guess it wasn’t cool enough. Sigh…
My young heart was screaming for acceptance, so I unwisely sought it through a stupid choice made with some kids that seemed to accept me. This sent my life spinning, dizzily landing me in trouble with the principal and my parents. I was devastated. News travels quickly through high school circles; my indiscretion spread like an unleashed wild fire. Walking through the halls felt like a firing squad of stares and whispers. The cloak of shame was oppressive to my adolescent heart.
Thankfully, I had the kindest PE teacher who saw the weight of my public humiliation. She came up behind me in the locker room, gently placed her hand on my shoulder, and whispered in my ear, “I know this has been a hard day for you. Learn from this. You’re more than this mistake.” She saw beyond my mixed-up teenage heart, confirming the promise of potential in my young developing character. She saw me. Her words served as a concrete expression of God’s heart and eyes toward me.
Isn’t that what Jesus did for Peter? Jesus saw beyond his impulsiveness and heart-wrenching betrayal. Jesus forgave. He saw Peter’s potential and purpose. Jesus saw him—all of him And, it completely changed the trajectory of Peter’s life allowing him to be an instrumental force in the building of the church.
Friends, Jesus sees us and He sees beyond our mistakes. His shed blood covers our offenses. He sees us through eyes of love. He sees us as His prized creations filled with bestowed goodness, potential, and purpose. His eyes see the transformed us—the best us.
Maybe we could be vessels of Jesus’ eyes by seeing and nurturing the best qualities in our children, husbands, and friends, forgiving them and seeing beyond their shortcomings.
Friends, isn't that one of the greatest gifts we can offer?
Scripture of the Day:
Lord you know everything there is to know about me. You’ve examined my innermost being with your loving gaze. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and understand my every thought before it enters my mind. (Psalm 139:1-2, PTL)
Jesus, thank You for seeing us, all of us. Your love sees beyond our mistakes. It sees the person you created us to be. Amen.
Author: Maryanne Abbate