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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Corinthians 5:14–17

For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (NRSV)

Whenever I read this passage from Paul, I can’t help but think of David’s introduction from 1 Kings. Far before David defeated Goliath or was named King of Israel, he was just a small shepherd boy living in the town of Bethlehem—the youngest of eight sons and without a clear path to greatness. When the prophet Samuel visited David’s father looking for the person whom God would call to be king, his father assumes that Eliab, his eldest, would be the choice, but Samuel delivers a prescient line: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature . . . for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart.”

Despite knowing this, most of us fall all too often into the trappings of assumptions and stereotypes whenever we interact with others. As human beings, we all carry conscious and unconscious biases within us, and some of these biases can be extremely destructive to both individuals and communities: we need not look very hard to see how racism and xenophobia is impacting our world today. But we believe that our faith calls us to something greater: to look not on outward appearance of others but instead to look upon their heart. Doing this will take intentional practice—and intentionally pausing to reflect on our gut reactions—if we are to “regard no one from a human point of view,” but we believe this loftier vision is a crucial part of what it means to be a disciple.

Holy God, I pray that you might bless me with your vision—that you would help me look past the outward appearance of anyone I meet and instead look towards their heart. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

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