This next quote comes from a prayer I found in an old journal from 2005. I would like to say I have found hundreds of poetic prayers hastily scribbled by a passionate hand as I rediscover my files, folders, and moleskins, but alas, the psalms of my life are woefully intermittent at best. This particular line caught me not only for its rarity in my writings but for how I know the Spirit has graciously worked in my heart regarding its content. . .
"May I first view people through the lens of Your love and not the unpleasant memories of my experiences."
It's amazing how our memories and disappointments can filter so strongly and so permanently the way we view people. I remember now at the time of this prayer how I was regularly being convicted of cynicism in so many areas, including my attitude towards people who reminded me of other people who I did not trust or did not like.
I know the Spirit has guided me out of much of that cynicism and into a much more hopeful way of thinking about people (even if they do frustrate or disappoint me) and has taught me more about the nature of love. A more recent journal entry has this little quote jotted down:
"We often think love is changing someone into our better idea of them."
Love is not changing people, it is treating them with an attitude and will that reflects the self-giving love of God. We love people where they are, not where we want them to be. . .
This truth impacts our compassion for the lost, our view of our "enemies", our love for our spouses, our attitude with our kids, etc. etc.
I still do not perfectly view people through the lens of God's love first. . .but it is still my prayer for all my relationships. I hope that it is for you too.