In thinking about how to change my view of others or forgiving, I find it appropriate and divinely serendipitous that today’s writing in Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest coincides with my reading of Mark 9 and occurs the week before Easter. During Easter I think more about miracles. This relates greatly to what I think and believe about people. Changing my views and beliefs about others requires miraculous power. In relationships and life, believing is seeing. What I believe about someone either cleanses, polishes, and focuses the lens through which I see them or it smudges, cracks, and distorts it. Believing is Seeing, functions as a critical purpose of prayer.
My view of myself lays the foundation for my view of others. If I see myself as a sinner forgiven by a loving God, I begin with a healthy foundation. As I grow in Christ and understand his new identity for me, this measure continues to increase in grace. This aspect of transformation grows out of an understanding that comes from a realization. A realization that something amazing has already happened to me. This contrasts to an expectation of something which will happen to me in the future. An expectation that I will receive a reward for good behavior.
Gratitude for a gift creates joy. This contrasts strongly to a weaker, ineffective motivation of working toward a future reward. Working toward change seems like duty. It often seems impossible. Giving from a realization of already receiving infinitely all I need or imagine removes all burden. All of my sins, even those I have yet to commit, God forgave on the cross. I was forgiven in advance. The power behind this required raising the dead. Jesus was dead. Now he isn’t. Only he can make things ‘not so.’
This same power transforms me, changes my views of others, and enables me to forgive. Sometimes it takes a while for me to believe something new about myself: longer to believe something new about someone else. Prejudices, judgmental thinking, views based on external appearances, age, skin color, sex, etc, I must die to all broken, ugly, and dark thoughts.
New Rules Don’t Change My View of Others
Sadly, I sometimes try to use the Mosaic law to change this view, and it doesn’t work. I cannot simply stop thinking something. To change my view of others, I must engage the power of Him that raises the dead.
To do this, I must confess it to God, and another if appropriate, and bring it into the light. In contrast, if I try to hide it or explain it away, I reveal disinterest and an insincere attitude toward transformation. Self justification never leads to transformation. I must not glaze over my thoughts, rename them, or explain them beginning with ‘yes, but.’ I must bring them out in the open and confess them.
I must use prayer and sometimes fasting. As in Mark 9, driving out deeply entrenched views compares to driving out demons, only removable with God’s power directed by intense prayer and fasting.
I must believe I can see others differently and ask for help from Him who gives it.
As I understand myself as being perfect in Christ, as Chamber’s says in today’s reading, ‘say to yourself, ‘That man or that woman is perfect in Christ. That friend or relative is perfect in Christ.’
Wanting to change my view of others must be driven by my love for Him and my desire to be more like him. If I participate in a network or social group that reinforces a prejudice or ungodly idea, I need to remove myself from this environment that works against the Holy Spirit and place myself beside others moving toward and believing in Him who has the power to raise the dead.