The Giant Palm

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013 in Faith | 0 comments

The Giant Palm

To the left is a picture of my hand, so close to my face that it seems enormous and I can see nothing past it.

Below is a picture of the world beyond my hand, when I lower it and look farther. There’s a lot going on here, so much I was missing when I could only see my own giant palm, so close to my eyeballs that even that was blurry. Try it and see how your perspective changes, how your focus adjusts. I see people. I see life. I see nuances, subtleties, mysteries, unknowns. I see diversity wrapped up in God’s creation.

Lately I notice a lot of giant-palm gazing at the expense of looking a little farther out in the distance. Looking so hard at one very small part, so up close and in your face that it blocks out any and every other thing, to the neglect of seeing the world beyond. Specific issues become the giant-palm-all-I-can-see heart of the matter, and people rage and fight and judge and hate, all while staring so hard at a hand for Pete’s sake. Put the hand down. Look beyond.

So what I see when I look up from my palm gazing and focus on the bigger picture, is the world. And let me tell you, there’s a lot to take in. People are dying out there. They’re starving, hurting, suffering, lost, abused, confused, alone, desperate. Dying. And we are turning a blind eye and missing what truly matters, instead becoming hyper-focused on issues over people.

” ‘You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.’ [Matthew 23:24] This is a humorous picture which must have raised a laugh, of a man carefully straining his wine through gauze to avoid swallowing a microscopic insect and yet cheerfully swallowing a camel. It is the picture of a man who has completely lost his sense of proportion.” (Barclay)

Like so much of the gospels, the entirety of Matthew 23 is aimed at the “blind guides,” the legalistic hypocrites who were so focused on the outward behavior of those around them (gnat) that they failed to look inside themselves and see the enormity of their own sin (camel). When we focus on one specific issue or behavior in someone else’s life at the expense of examining our own insides to see how we’re responding to the real issue at hand – the call to love, to serve, to go to a dying world and offer hope – we have completely lost our sense of proportion.

I don’t have all the answers and I don’t always know how to love, give, and serve in a dying world like I want to. But I know God is love and if I choose Him, then I choose love too. I am humbly aware of how He chooses to love me even when my outward behavior is ugly, even when my insides are messy. I remember how He pursued me when I didn’t truly know Him, and that it looked nothing like beating me over the head with religious rules, exposing me publicly, refusing to build a relationship with me, or calling me names – it looked like love. I can only believe that this is how we’re meant to approach the world around us.

“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do.” Ephesians 1:18 (The Message Bible)

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