Jesus said, "Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar." Luke 11:34 The Message
|Chris Poliquin | Dreamstime.com
The word "eye" can refer both to the physical eye, as well as to one's vision or perspective, just as the word "body" can refer to the physical form or to one's connection to the world in which we live. Put that way, it would seem that Jesus is telling us our way of looking at things will directly affect the way we feel, and live, and interact with the world around us. It may even affect our physical health, and it certainly has an effect on the people around us!
English poet William Blake put it this way:
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” ― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Ew. I don't want to see things through "narrow chinks" in my cave... nor do I want to be a "dank cellar." But how often do I find myself peering at people, at circumstances, and at life in general through "squinty-eyes" narrowed to mere slits by greed, or prejudice, or distrust, or fear, or any of the other nasty little things that scuttle around in the darkness of the human soul? Too often. It's entirely too easy to be negative.
|My own little wide-eyed wonder!
Jesus tells us to become as little children, and little children are "wide-eyed in wonder and belief." To a child, the world is filled with the potential for joy. I believe that's how God sees us—all of us—all the time, and how He looks at His creation. Can you picture it? Can you picture yourself "wide-eyed in wonder and belief"? I can guarantee this, you'll look younger and it won't cause wrinkles!
Fear and sorrow and destruction make us want to scrunch our eyes shut and hide, but that's not the way to be a light in a dark place. We have to change our perspective—our perception—of people, places, things, circumstances, etc. (Even the weather, which is a hard one for me this time of year.) When we do, we'll not only be filled with light ourselves, we will be a light for others.
Ghandi said "be the change you want to see in the world." Jesus said "be the light." Both are possible.
Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of three. She has thus far been unsuccessful at coming up with catchy taglines for her writing, her purpose in life, or what she hopes to achieve in the future. Suggestions are welcome.