One from UK national newspapers has asked for comment on what it means to be British. So here is a statement from a guy in Switzerland who lived in Britain for twelve years.

“Being British is driving a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then driving home, having an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, sitting on Swedish furniture and watching American shows on a Japanese television. And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign!

As in the story above, we often see things as we are rather than as they are. We see things through our experiences, our political opinions, our prejudices, our nationalities, our affiliations, etc. But what happens when we think we don’t see what we see? What happens when we look at someone or something through those rose-colored glasses we all tend to have?

Allow me to illustrate. A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next day, while they are having breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging out the laundry. “This laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash properly. Maybe she needs a better laundry soap. Each time her neighbor hung out her clothes to dry, the young woman made the same comments.

About a month later, the wife was surprised to see nice clean laundry on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she’s learned how to wash properly. I wonder who taught him that? The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.

It’s easy to turn a molehill into a mountain when our eye windows are dirty. It’s much easier to try to change everyone when it’s us who need to change. The problem with dirty windows is that we can become cynical and jaded. H. L. Mencken said, “A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks for a coffin.” Dirty mental or emotional windows often end up hurting the critic more than the critic.

This illustration does not mean that we throw away discernment or that everything we see is dirty. However, let us examine ourselves first and ensure that the windows of our soul are clean enough to see others and our experiences clearly and without judgment.

The Bible gives us wisdom on this. “For the pure, everything is pure; but for those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but their mind and their conscience are defiled. Titus 1:15. In other words, for the pure, everything is pure. For the impure, everything is impure. Herbert Samuel says: “The world is like a mirror. Frown, and he frowns at you. Smile at him, and he smiles too. We rarely see what we are not looking for.

So here’s a question for you. When you open your eyes, what do you see? Here is what a writer wrote. Maybe it could be you.

“You just have to open your eyes to see the work of God. I don’t worship the stars, but they make me worship God. Likewise, I do not worship humanity. But when I look around at the people in my life, I am in awe of their vast array of gifts and talents. To see these people is so incredible that it makes me thank the Creator of Life.

I look around and see beauty in one place and deep sadness and sorrow in another. It makes me stop and give thanks for my life, a life filled with hope, purpose and safety in pain. And my faith compels me to believe that there is a future and a hope because the sense of life and creation that surrounds me is not there by mistake but by glorious purpose.

Let me guess what many of us are thinking. “This writer does not deal with reality. There is so much evil in life. There are so many injustices in the world. This person did not experience what I experienced. This person sits there doing nothing about all the problems we have in our world. They are so heavenly that they are no good on earth.

The Bible says that Jesus knew what was in human beings, but he wouldn’t let human things give him a dirty window through which to look. Why? He had his Father’s eyes. He saw people and events as God sees people and events. Jesus could separate the person from their problems and behaviors. Jesus’ perspective was, “Yes, it’s real, it’s messy, but that’s why I came to earth. Let’s redeem it.

Jesus understood the idea that, for the pure, everything is pure. If Jesus saw life through the dirty window of the “wounded, bitter, or cynical,” He would not have set out to do good and help all those in need. A fruitful life sees the dirty window but is not paralyzed by the dirty window. I guarantee you’ll help more people, solve more problems, and turn bad into good with a vision like the author of this article. God designed heavenly good to make us good on earth.

When you open your eyes today, what do you see? Perhaps it is time to look at life as Jesus did, through eyes healed by grace. Then you will say, “Yes, I see the mess, but with God’s help, let’s turn the mess into a message.”


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