This morning at 6am I went to the local high school for See You At The Pole, a annual event where Christian students gather around the school flag pole and pray. I listened and watched and when it came time to pray in groups I found myself in a group with two youth pastors and one high school student.
When it was my turn to pray I I spoke aloud praying, "God give us your imagination--to see this school and this nation as you see it--and give us your eyes."
The students followed my prayer saying, "...as Wes said, 'give us your eyes' that when we look at the kids walking around this campus, we will see them with signs on them that say 'Hell Bound.'"
...Not what I had in mind when I was praying.
When she prayed that prayer, every memory I had from See You At The Pole, and other such events, when I was in school rushed to my memory. I suddenly saw myself in that girl, suddenly I was standing in her shoes. I could hear all the prayers I prayed when I was in high school and I could feel the panic that rushes through you when you walk the world thinking that everyone around you is going to hell. Perhaps, in that moment, God was answering my prayer, perhaps when I saw myself in that girl I was seeing with God's eyes.
Afterward I wondered if she really believed that. I wondered if she actually thought that when God looked at the people at her school all he saw, all he cared to see, was that they were "hell bound." I thought about how that would effect the way someone approached their neighbors and their world. There is a big difference between, for example, seeing "hell bound" as apposed to seeing "worthy to save." My hope is that when God sees people he sees them for who they are, all their amazing gifts and qualities. I prefer to think that God sees something precious in even our most corrupted state. I prefer to think that God sees beauty where we see corruption and condemnation. This is how I am learning to see people and I hope that God sees them this way. If He does not, then who is my teacher?