HOW OFTEN DO WE REALLY LOOK AT PEOPLE?
Most often, we look at a person seeking what is worse in that person than in us, so that we can see ourselves in a more favorable light in the background of the other person.
For example, “he, too is wearing a suit, but I am younger, I’m stronger. Uh Oh, his hair is already gray, almost all bald, he is a decrepit old man, but I, I am much better, I am much younger than him! ” If we look at a person with disdain: “…so young! What can she teach me? “, etc., then this means that we do not see difference. If we look at a person, we are not looking down on the person but on us in the first place, and we lose where we could have been enriched.
Our human nature pushes each of us to ensure that we do not perceive people in terms of their dignity or advantages but rather in terms of our benefits: how much better we are, or how we can look in a more favorable light. It follows from this thesis: our perception of others is based:
Either on the fact that we see the shortcomings of others or on what we can learn from this person
So, it’s either one of these two things: either we look for shortcomings, or we will look for value, for dignity, for advantages. Most people tend to notice first defects. Not in any country of the world have I seen such an attitude towards people as in the countries of the former Soviet Union: here people tend to notice and see disadvantages and the negatives in people. In the West, this trend is already being overcome, particularly in America, there, people tend to look for, and notice the positives or advantages of a person. In some instances, even if we see the obvious advantages of a person, other people refuse to notice them. People will carefully search out the negatives that are deeply hidden on the inside. It is against this attitude tendency we must direct our fight.
We must learn to notice the advantages of people first not their disadvantages. If we have seen the benefits of a person, then, we have positioned ourselves to becoming their disciple, we can learn from them. If we see the flaws and weaknesses, then we become judges. Life is such, that there is always someone who knows what you do not know, and certainly we can find someone whose help you might need in the future. If we are only looking for flaws in others, then we destroy and tear apart relationships with people. If we seek dignity, we are looking for how to gain what this person has, what they know and what we do not have. If we discover the advantages of others, we run after them, we ask them questions, we make them understand that they are special to us, we honor them, then we do not wonder, asking what we can learn from them, we value them. So, there exists only two ways we can look at people either to condemn or to learn from them, and the second is much better.
Each person I meet is superior to me in something, and in this sense I can learn from him. –
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), American writer, poet and philosopher; One of the thinkers and writers of the United States
Let me ask you the following question, dear reader, what do you think? when we see a person, how should we relate to him or her? I want to tell you that there are two ways how we can relate to people:
- We take a person as created in the image of God, and because of this truth they are worthy of respect, or
- We look at them and humiliate them, thinking, “I am wearing a suit, and he who are they? What a strange person, perhaps, a drug addict… “
If I look at a person the way as described in number two, “aha, they are just a former drug addict…, etc.” then I can never honor such a person. I have already set myself above that person and this is a manifestation of arrogance and vain glory: “I’m so elegant, and he – who is he?” and inside of me I cannot honor such a person. The truth is that we must look at every person as the one who can enrich us. Here is the correct position which we should take in relating to others: “anyone can enrich me!”.
Each person knows something I do not know and so I bow before them and always stay in a position of hunger to learn; to be ready to receive their experience and be enriched with the knowledge that they have. Only when you honor and respect others, can you be open to receive and take what they have, you can add to what you have, that which they have. Only when you recognize that they have something that you do not have, they know something you do not know, only then can you take from them.
We must recognize a person, even if we perceive the person is worse than us. Remember that we can learn from the example of others. Altogether it’s not good to look at people thinking we have something better than them. We must always look at people from the standpoint of what we can learn from them. Never look down on people, always look up to them, from the position of what we can learn from these people. We need to look at all people just like a student would look at the teacher!
When I meet with anyone, I kneel down. In my heart, I am humble and respectful, and with this attitude, I always make a person feel as if he is bigger than he or she is in reality.
And therein lies the art of love for people. This is what God requires of us: love God “AND” your neighbor. This means that we must look at that person as someone who knows what we do not know, someone we can learn from, because they are unique, have unique experiences, unique skills, unique talents and gifts. We should not only see that a person is different from us, but we should see each person, as if falling on our knees, this is important! We need to meet every person as if bowing in front of them, already on our knees, we are in the position of a pupil. Each person has something to learn and something worth emulating. When we seeing a person, are inclined to hear what they have to say, and to learn from them and the wisdom they possess: this is what I call “treat others with respect” or “taking them highly, treating them with dignity.”
To be continued Tomorrow, don’t miss it!
Excerpts from the Book “THE LAW OF DIFFERENCE ”. #DSABOOKS
This book can be found on dsabooksplanet.com and Amazon.com
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja.