THEME: Living like Jesus means loving like Jesus.
GRACE: Lord, give me eyes to see others the way that You see them.
- In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
- Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
- Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
- Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21, NIV)
- Pause for a few moments of silence.
- Choose one of the following practices.
Option 1: Listening [5-30 minutes]
Living as a united people requires a willingness to listen to others with openness and humility. Active listening does not come naturally for most of us, but it is a habit that can be learned and developed through regular practice. One place we can begin is by intentionally listening to an opposing viewpoint, and prayerfully asking for God’s help to understand those with whom we disagree.
Think of a current media outlet with which you tend to strongly disagree. This could be a news channel, blog, author, or radio station that you typically ignore. After spending a moment in silence to pray for God’s grace, take 5-20 minutes and intentionally read/watch/listen to that source of information.
NOTE: The key here is to actively listen, without judgment. You are not reading to be persuaded or changed, or to shoot holes in someone else’s argument. Instead, simply try to listen to this person in a way that helps you see them as Jesus sees them.
When you are finished, open your journal and prayerfully answer these questions:
- As you engaged in this listening, what thoughts or emotions did you notice within yourself?
- Was it difficult to read/listen to this opposing viewpoint without feeling threatened or anxious? If so, why do you think that is the case?
- Is there anything in this person’s viewpoint that could be the result of pain in their life or community?
- How do you think Jesus would respond to this person? Could you respond in the same way?
Option 2: Listening [30-60 minutes]
An important but often overlooked practice is actively listening to our past. Take a moment in silence and ask God for this week’s grace: “Lord, give me eyes to see others the way that You see them.”
Then, ask God to bring to mind a major argument or disagreement from your past experience. It could be recent or from your distant past, but an instance you remember well.
For the next fifteen minutes, remember as much as you can about that encounter. If you can, use your imagination to place yourself back in that moment. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch? Don’t judge yourself or the other person involved, simply notice what happened with full honesty. It may help you to write those details in your journal.
Now, listen to the words of the other person a second time, but ask Jesus to help him see this person as he sees them. See if you can notice any hurt or pain that might be driving their anger or disappointment. If you could see with Jesus’ eyes, what does this person look like?
With your remaining time, open your journal and describe what this experience was like for you. Did anything in your perspective about the other person change? Is there anything you sense God might want you to do as a result?
- Summary: Write a brief summary (five sentences or less) of what you discovered during your time of listening.
- Closing Prayer: Lord, give me eyes to see others the way that You see them.
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