On Wearing Glasses…

I wear glasses for astigmatism and I also need them reading.
Without my glasses, I cannot see clearly.

But I also have a variety of other glasses that I wear daily, without consciously putting them on.

Some are a part of my hardwiring.
I am a girl.
So I am always wearing my pink glasses.
Meaning that I generally see the world from a feminine point of view, in all the ways men and women think differently and respond differently. My default setting is femininity.

Another part of my hardwiring is my culture. I am always wearing my American glasses.
They make me think that freedom is a given.
That I deserve things like clean water, electricity on demand, and central heating and air.
That I have a voice in the political process and freedom to express my views without fearing for my life.
And that I am not a wealthy person.
Those things are not truth for most of the world.
But all of them are the way I view the world by default.

I am also hardwired to wear my white glasses.
I am of European descent, a white woman.
Therefore, those are also my default glasses.

Call all of those – my feminine, cultural and racial glasses – whatever you want.
Call them privilege or responsibility or unfairness or prejudice or rights – but they are what they are. They are my default settings for viewing the world.

Those glasses stay firmly on my face unless I choose to replace them with another pair.
To see things from another point of view.

For example, at work I routinely put on my blue glasses because I work with mostly men.
My communication with them is much better if I remember that we are hardwired differently, to express ourselves differently and that we often view the world differently.
So I often intentionally take off my pink and put on my blue to see things as they see them.
It usually doesn’t change the point I am trying to make.
But it does open the doors for better communication, simply because I am willing to look at it from their point of view.

Same thing for my cultural and racial glasses.
I can choose to take them off – my “Americaness” and my “whiteness” – and attempt to see the world through different eyes.
To hear what the other person is saying.
To remember that their point of view is as valid as mine.
To hear past rhetoric and see the hardwiring and experiences they have had that drive their hearts.
To love them even if we disagree.
And to have the discussions that enable me to see the world as they see it.

But then there are other glasses that I often wear.
Pairs that I consistently choose to put on my face.
Some that I definitely should.
And others that I have no business wearing.

First, the deceptive glasses of comparison.
This often starts with me simply being happy for you, rejoicing with you over your blessings.
But then I slip these on and they quickly skew my vision.
I hold up your blessings next to my life and find that I have come up short.

I forget that I am only seeing the icing on the cake of your life.
Yes, you took an amazing vacation.
But perhaps it came at the price tag of you never seeing your husband since he is always working overtime to pay for such things.
Yes, you have gorgeous children in perfect outfits, smiling at the camera.
But it probably came at the price tag of you losing your mind for two hours during the photo shoot.
Yes, you have a stunning house, perfectly decorated for Christmas.
But maybe it came at the price tag of your peace as you pressured yourself to get it all done.
Or maybe it didn’t.
But either way, when I compare my life to yours, I am usually only seeing what you allow me to see. And I am usually only showing you what I want you to see.
Wearing the glasses of comparison is dangerous. Foolish. And only leads to sin.

Another set that I have to take off?
Expectations.
The glasses of what I expect you to do. To be. To say.
Another very dangerous, even deadly pair.
They are similar to comparison – but they have even heavier lenses called “I deserve”.
Instead of me looking out for your best interests, I only focus on mine.
Instead of me choosing to love you for you, I love you for what you can do for me.
Instead of me being grateful for all the good you bring to my life, I focus on what you have not done that I think you should.

The question:
What do I do with all these glasses?
How do I manage to live – and to love – beyond my hardwiring?
How do I make sure that I am seeing things from the proper perspective?

By replacing ALL of my glasses with the one set that will give me clear vision:
The mind of Christ,
as revealed in the Word of God
and illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

It is only when I put on His glasses, eternal perspective glasses, that my vision is corrected.
Paul lays out the prescription in Philippians 2.

He starts out by telling us who should be wearing them.
They are for those of us who have found:
“encouragement from being united with Christ”
“comfort from His love”
“common sharing in the Spirit”
“any tenderness and compassion”.

He then tells us what these glasses will enable us to do. They will cause us to:
“be like-minded”
“have the same love”
“be one in spirit” and “of one mind”
“do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”
“value others above ourselves”
“not look to our own interests but…to the interests of the others”.

Yes, please! I want that kind of vision.
Imagine the kind of place this world would be if we all had that!

And then Paul tells us the prescription – how to get ALL of that.
He says, “Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”.

Next he unpacks what that means. He says:
Jesus humbled himself.
Became a servant.
And chose to do the will of God above his desires.
He chose to love you more than himself.
He chose to lay down his rights as God Incarnate so that he could die in your place.
And He rose from the dead so that you have the power to live as He did.

So – what if you and I chose those glasses?
What if we chose humility over pride?
Gratitude over grumbling?
Serving over expecting?
The will of God over our own desires?
The best interest of others over our needs?

What would our world look like if we did that?
May you choose your glasses carefully.
With the right ones on, you can change the world.

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