I’d recently heard a podcaster recommend a certain drama-comedy series, so I suggested to Jim that we watch it that evening. The first episode only annoyed me. I found the story depressing, the main character mean-spirited, and the language vulgar at times, so I chose to stop watching. But today I came into the den while Jim was watching the next episode to see if the story would improve. This time, something about the characters captivated me, and I soon sat down next to him. We watched through the end of Season One! I now understand the value and merit of the storyline and characters.
As the story progressed, we learned the reasons for the main character’s depression and the deeper meanings behind his hateful actions. I began to appreciate the kind friends and coworkers who cared for him, despite their own troubles. I savored the wisdom of a few sages who had walked similar difficult journeys. Best of all, I began to see a resurrection, a new hope restored in this troubled man. I felt joyful, even emotional, as his spirit began healing and he started changing his ways. In the last episode we watched today, he was making things right with those he’d hurt, doing kind deeds for others, taking new chances, finding new opportunities, and smiling more often.
I’m glad I gave the show a second look.
As I stood and returned to my writing desk, I suddenly thought: This is God. This is God’s love. This is God’s healing.
And this is how we are meant to live.
God always gives us the benefit of a second look. Yes, God looks at this first, current episode of our lives, but with the awareness of our previous ones and the insight for our future ones. God sees beneath our superficial qualities or blemishes because God looks at our deeper souls. God understands our flaws and frailties because God understands our histories, our wounds, our genuine stories. God sees our inner needs and provides healing, forgiving, uplifting power accordingly.
And through this comforting, accepting, second look – this loving gaze – we can see ourselves as God sees us, precious and beloved. In the wisdom of God’s deep and healing insight, we can discover our genuine selves beyond any superficial, overlooked, or previously held image. In the generous grace of God’s viewpoint, we can see beyond our current messiness and witness our own resurrection – both our wholeness and our holiness.
Then it’s our turn. God can also transform us into people who offer second looks. God can help us begin searching beyond the obvious; seeing beyond our preconceived judgments, moving beyond our usual reactions, growing beyond our status quo. Our second looks help us search for the real answers to such questions as…
Why is that man being so hateful?
What is that student trying to hide behind his bravado?
Is there heartache beneath that surly attitude?
Will I find any wisdom in those hurtful words?
Why am I feeling disgruntled today?
Should I reconsider this invitation?
What might I learn from this experience?
Through our daily resurrections, we can become tenderhearted, hopeful, helpful, generous, merciful, grateful people who are willing to take a second look, offer a second chance, and live the second life that God has so graciously given us.
Where might you take a second look today?
Photo by Karen
Today I’ll take a second look
at the man seen in the mirror.
I may not let him off the hook,
but maybe if I see him clearer
I’ll understand what he has done,
and contemplate the why
of his living on the run,
and though I may not try
to forgive abandoned sins,
I may yet come to terms,
and thus, perhaps, healing begins,
and even though the process burns,
there may yet be chance for grace
for the villain wearing my own face.
May you increasingly see yourself as beloved, my friend,
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