Man Sees What They Want To See, God Sees Only What He Can See

My days, which are often filled with worry about what people think of me, constant replays of conversations and scenarios that I wish had gone better, and mental rehearsals of future discussions and plans, leave me full of anxiety about what has already happened and dread for what will happen. But, when I turn to God I see the way that he looks at me through eyes that have no bias, no personal baggage or agenda, and no malice, I know that I am blessed, held up, and strengthened. Henri Nouwen’s words apply, “I am convinced that many of my emotional problems would melt as snow in the sun if I could let the truth of God’s … non-comparing love permeate my heart.” 

When I am faced with harsh criticism, unkindness, meanness, and judgement that is unfair and cold I can practice an exercise that has been life saving to me. I remember that God’s view of me is pure and holy. God’s view of me is not clouded by unfairness, biases, and the need to put me down to make himself better. He sees my heart and knows my true self. The ruined and bad, of course, but also the desire to be better, the great need for help, and the intentions to make things right. I am honest with myself and my faults and my screwups but I am also honest with myself about God’s great promises and blessings toward me and how different these are from human beings’ tear downs and curses.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on

The heart of man is a ruined heart. The lives of man are broken. The mind of man is distorted. This is what sin has done to humanity and our propensity to sin sends us deeper and deeper into this ruined, broken, and distorted world. It is important to remember this sorry state of human beings so that I can contrast this with the compassionate heart, life, and mind of God.

God’s view of me is upside down from the view of man that is rife with comparison, judgement and pride. Man looks on the outside, God looks on the heart. God has no need for comparison. As Nouwen says, “In a world that constantly compares people, ranking them as more or less intelligent, more or less attractive, more or less successful, it is not easy to really believe in a love that does not do the same.” 

Not only does God not compare me to others and thus start judging me accordingly, he doesn’t hold my sin against me. My sin, in God’s compassionate and forgiving eyes, is as far away as the east is from the west. God sees me as only he can – with love. Not loved based on my performance or latest accomplishment or favors done for him but love – a kind that has a total willingness to accept and work for my good. 

Try this exercise yourself. The next time you are in an irrational personal conflict or feel like you have been treated unfairly or are tormenting yourself over your mistakes, remember that God is not looking at you from a human point of view but from a divine, unadulterated, pure view of you as a child of God. Pray that you will see yourself as God sees you and may that bring you comfort and peace today.

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