When Paul came to Christ, he was granted a totally new perspective in life.
Prior to his salvation, he had been persecuting Christians, thinking that he was doing God a favor. But upon his salvation, he saw things in a whole new light, and he says as much in this passage.
We saw yesterday that when he saw Christ for who he truly was, and when he saw all that Christ had done for him on the cross and truly understood it, it changed his motivations for life. It caused him to fall in love with Christ. He now saw Jesus in a totally new way, and not only Jesus, but everyone else. He wrote,
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. (16)
Before he saw Christ as just a man. Probably as worse than a man, as a blasphemer and under God’s curse. But now he saw Christ as God’s perfect only Son, and his Savior. And before he saw the Christians as a bunch of heretics. He saw the Gentiles as a bunch of outsiders. But now he saw them in a totally different light, as people God loves.
In the same way, if we are Christians, not only should our view of Christ change, but so should our view of the people around us. We should not view them as the rest of the world does.
The world evaluates people by their beauty, by their intelligence, by their wealth, and by their overall attractiveness and lovability. And if they lack these things, especially the latter two, we cast them aside. But we forget something. In casting them aside, we cast aside people created in the image of God.
Yes, that image may be distorted, in some cases, badly. But they are still created in his image. And because of that God puts special value on them. He put so much value on them that he sent Jesus to die for them, just as much as he sent Jesus to die for you.
How can we then despise them?
I have to admit, I struggle with this. There are some unlovable people in my life. But they are not truly unlovable, because God loves them. And if I can’t love them, that points to a problem, not in them, but in me. If I can’t see the image of God in them through the distortion, then there’s a problem with my spiritual eyes.
How about you? Are you struggling with “unlovable” people in your life. If so, then won’t you pray with me?
Lord, you have made me a new creation. You have opened my eyes to who you really are. Now, I pray that you open my eyes to see people as you do. As people created in your image. As people not worth despising, but worthy of love. Forgive me for my wrong attitude. I don’t want to be this way. Change me. Give me new eyes. Give me your eyes. And teach me to love them as you do. In Jesus name, amen.