Sometimes perspective can make all the difference. Looking down from the air, you see only the green foliage of a tree merging into all the trees around it. However, the same tree, viewed from below, manifests a delicate, tapering spread of branches. The tree may be developing flowers or fruit that can only be seen from the ground.
In a similar way, when we look down on our brothers and sisters, our vision may also be very limited. Everyone melds together into an indistinguishable group of “others” whose faults and shortcomings make us want to distance ourselves from them. But if we join them “on the ground” and look at them as our equals in God’s eyes, we would see details that we may have missed before. We would see strengths as well as weaknesses. We would see acts of love as well as actions that disturb us. And most important, we would see how similar to us they really are.
This lower place is a place of respect. It’s the place where God can show us what he finds so lovable about our brothers and sisters. It’s also the place where we can see how God is at work in them, always in love, encouragement, and joy. It’s the place where, rather than trying to change people’s hearts and actions, we find our hearts beginning to change.
So James tells us not to complain about each other. It’s not our role to judge—that belongs to God. Rather than being judges, we should become traveling companions who live to encourage each other. We should be patient with each other, just as God has been patient with us.
As you’ve been reading this meditation, someone probably came to mind. Try looking at this person from below, not above. Take the lower place of respect, and see this person through God’s eyes of love and mercy. Don’t become discouraged if this seems hard. Remember, “the coming of the Lord is at hand,” the Lord who “is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:8, 11). He will help you every step of the way.
“Holy Spirit, give me your eyes and your heart so that I can cherish each brother and sister you have placed in my life.”
Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)