When love permeates our lives, our vision is enhanced | The Globe – The Globe

The human ability to see is fascinating.
Most of us have two eyes that work together to allow us to see a wide area, determine distance, and distinguish color. Unfortunately, because of injury, illness, or slight differences, some of us have limitations in some of these areas.
I was about 7 when the teachers noticed I was struggling to see what was written on the chalkboard at school. A couple of visits to the optometrist and a pair of glasses corrected the issue. Suddenly, I could see the individual branches and leaves on the tree and was fascinated by all the little brown dots on my face. I had freckles!
Our ability to see is vital to our lives. We rely on our vision for so many things we sometimes take it for granted until fog, rain, snow or dark of night makes it difficult for us to drive somewhere. Walking through the house in the middle of the night can be a painful activity unless one turns on a light.
While our ability to see is vital, it is only part of the equation. We also need to interpret or understand what we see. We learn to interpret the little black squiggly spots on a white piece of paper as letters and words. We see combinations of colors and shapes and are in awe of a sunrise or sunset, admire a serene natural vista, or recognize the logo of a favorite sports team or company.
Our ability to see and interpret can lead us to act. A whole industry has arisen that takes images and uses them to tug at our heartstrings or subtly influence our desires.
The images of a black man with a white police officer kneeling on him inspired hundreds and thousands to protest inequalities and injustices in our criminal justice system. It also inspired support for those who put their life on the line to protect us from dangerous elements in our society.
For many of us, the binary nature of the protests created a great challenge. A not-so-subtle message was often expressed that you had to choose one over the other. This is not related just to the “Black Lives Matter” and “Police Lives Matter” chants.
We find this insistence on a narrow understanding of issues in many areas of our culture. Vaccines mandates, mask mandates, political candidates, and many other issues seem to inspire this “my way or the highway” attitude.
I am reminded of a passage of scripture often used in weddings. In 1 Corinthians 13, often called the Love chapter, the Apostle contrasts our often selfish ambitions with God’s gracious love.
He enters this powerful chapter after addressing the conflicts among the church at Corinth that were pitting individuals in the community against one another. He then points out that “now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face.”
When we insist on the rightness of our interpretation and the wrongness of another person’s interpretation, it is as if our vision is obscured. It is no different than when we are driving in a dense fog, or walking through a dimly lit house in the dark of night. We find ourselves banging into things and creating havoc in our lives and the lives of others.
We are not left with that dimmed vision. Like an optometrist prescribing glasses to enhance our ability to see, 1 Corinthians 13 ends with the familiar phrase, “Now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
When we allow love to permeate our lives, our vision is enhanced. It is like putting on a pair of glasses that allows us to see a little clearer the individual leaves and branches of the tree and the freckles on our face. We begin to see the world and one another as God sees us.
Galen Smith is pastor at Worthington's Westminster Presbyterian Church.