So from now on, we do not think about what people are like by looking at them. We even thought about Christ that way one time. But we do not think of Him that way anymore. (2 Corinthians 5:16 NLV)
What do you see when you look at a person? You see their facial structure, their size and weight, the color of their skin, whether they are handicapped or they bear some deformity, or if they are beautiful beyond belief like walking perfection, you see that. All these are the types of things that present themselves to us when we look at a person.
But the Bible says we don’t consider who people are anymore by looking at them. I look at you and see what the Bible calls the flesh, but you are not the product of anything I can see, because in Christ, we no longer know people by their flesh. We know them by their soul, their spirit, their heart and mind — their essence that comes to us in other ways than what we see.
When you see someone in Christ you see a new creature. We consider people on another basis. What you see is not what you get. What you get is something you can’t see. It doesn’t present itself in a human body. It is a person’s soul, their spirit, everything that comes to us by way of what we can’t see. It comes through a touch; it’s carried by a voice; it reveals itself in an email.
The world puts all its influence on what we look at when we see a person. So we work on our bodies, we do our hair, we paint our nails, we keep our skin looking young and healthy, we dress up, we work out. All these things are important because we live in a real, visible world, but all these things convey a very small part of who we are, and if we consider each other in any way, we consider each other without these visible things. “We do not think about what people are like by looking at them.” A person’s value goes way beyond what we see.
One of our MemberPartners who lives in Switzerland has been representing a man who has been entertaining families for most of his life. He was a comedian, a clown, an actor, and a mime who could hold a theater spellbound for hours. He recently passed away at 80, and is currently mourned by thousands. He performed right up to a few days before his death. To look at him was to see a tiny man with a face that was all nose. And though his human body is no more, his effect on people remains, because what we thought of him was not what we saw when we looked at him, but what he allowed us to see of ourselves through the magic of his art and his humor. True art is not the artist, but what the artist unlocks in us. His essence was anything but physical.
So what is a person’s race, ethnicity, language, culture? It is not who they are. We do not think about what people are by looking at them. We need to find other ways to think about people other than what they look like.