The Pastor’s Desk

March 9, 2018

Sometimes seeing, we do not see.  Our approach to life with its joys, trials and challenges often depends upon our perception of what we choose to see in any given situation.  An analogy that seems to fit this human proclivity is how one looks at a diamond, the rarest of precious stones.  Diamonds, which are formed over time by tremendous heat and pressure, are beautiful, but each one has a flaw.  The experts who select and grade stones take these imperfections into account in determining the value of each unique stone.

In their finished state, these beautiful stones are lovely to look at.  They are highly prized and usually cost a great deal of money.  Some look at a diamond and see the beauty, and others, seeing the same stone, see only the flaws.

It seems to be the same way in human relationships. Every person is formed by the pressures of life and the experiences that "polish" us and make us what we are. Hopefully, along the way some beautiful character is formed in each one. I'm not referring to the external beauty or outward appearance, but the inner beauty of godly character.  It is wonderful when we can see that kind of beauty in another human being of whatever age and circumstance.  And yet, some people do not see the beauty in others—no, they only see the flaws, which are in every mortal.

If we only see the flaws, we miss the rich experience, enjoyment and flavor that others can bring to our lives. The different cultural values, history and wisdom can truly add value and enlarge our understanding as we go through life.  Certainly, there is evil that we must avoid and guard against, but, there is good and real beauty, if we can only see it.

The Bible contains the examples of mankind's failures, but it also records some triumphs of those who chose to obey God and to live His way of life.  It is interesting that the prophet Malachi was inspired to describe God's people as being "jewels." He wrote, "'They shall be Mine,' says the Lord of hosts, 'on the day that I make them My jewels.

And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him'" (Malachi 3:17).

God knows His people and that they are not perfect, though they strive to be.  And yet, He sees the beauty and calls His people jewels.

Jesus practiced this sort of compassion and perception in dealing with repentant people, when He walked the earth.  There is a beautiful example of this approach in Mark 14:3–9:

"And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard.  Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.  But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, 'Why was this fragrant oil wasted?  For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.'  And they criticized her sharply.

But Jesus said, 'Let her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a good work for Me.  For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.  She has done what she could.  She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.  Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.'"

The host and the other guests at this occasion were shocked and dismayed at the actions of this woman, but Jesus recognized the beautiful attitude she portrayed, and paid her a great compliment.

So, in any given situation, what will you see, the beauty or the flaw?

Mark A. Whynaucht