[forthright] A Window into the Soul

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 05:07:10 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

So good, it was made into a movie. 'Discovering the
Kingdom of God,' by Tim Hall. Only $6.99. Get it here:
http://forthrightpress.com/#KingdomOfGod


COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

A Window Into the Soul
 by Tim Hall

In reading reviews others had written about a product I
was thinking of buying, I was abruptly stopped by one
review. In discussing what he did and didn’t like about
the product, the man mentioned that he uses a
wheelchair. For some reason that surprised me. Why?

There are many differences that separate us all. Some
are visual: skin color, clothing, physical shape, hair
color, etc. When we see these, we immediately draw
inferences about others, though they can be quite
misleading. Other differences are detected by voice
alone: the language spoken, the tone of voice, dialect
and vocabulary. Again, hearing these cues - even if we
don’t see the person - leads to inferences (read,
stereotypes).

The written word strips away most of the differences
that separate us. Until they reveal such, we don't know
anything about the writer's race, age, gender, personal
tastes or values. In a sense, we see the sameness of
our souls when we read one another’s writings. Words
may be the closest we can come to a common denominator
between people.

There was one who excelled at looking beyond the
differences between people. Jesus of Nazareth was not
intimidated by the outward marks that tend to drive
people apart. He reached out to women (John 4:7-26),
people with "unclean" diseases (Luke 5:12-14), those
whose reputation had been tarnished (Luke 5:27-32), or
the rich and powerful (John 3:1-21). Traits and cues
that cause us to think twice about reaching out to
others seemed not to have that effect at all on Jesus.

Jesus' way of viewing others should become our way.
When asked to identify the greatest commandment, Jesus
went further and also noted the second greatest: "And
the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as
yourself'" (Matthew 22:39, NKJV). 

At the heart of that command is this principle: People
are really not as different from one another as we
often think. When we look beyond the externals we see
that we’re all made in God's image (Genesis 1:27).

Is it coincidental that Jesus was referred to by John
as "the word" (John 1:1-14)? Instead of envisioning him
as a Jew, a humble carpenter, an associate of sinners
or of the gender of a man, we see him at his ultimate
when we regard Jesus as the word. He is the finest
communication of what God wants each of us to become.

By focusing on the words, we gain access to a window
into the souls of others. By looking to "the word"
(Jesus), we have a window into the greatness of what
souls can become.

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