I See You
One of the worst feelings in the world is to feel that you are invisible. The feeling that others don’t see, know or care about what you’re going through can make you feel unloved and unimportant. I think that’s why the phrase, “I see you”, made popular by the 2009 movie, Avatar, resonates so deeply with us. In the futuristic movie on the planet, Pandora, the native inhabitants called the Na’vi, have a unique way of expressing their love to each other. They look each other in the eye and say, “I see you.” It’s a beautiful expression of heartfelt connection between two people: “I see you.” God wants us to see, know and care about each other – especially when we’re hurting. God’s Word urges us in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Many people are mourning today, and we are to mourn with them. The recent news of another possible hate crime involving two white men shooting a black man in Georgia is causing a wave of grief, outrage and frustration in people of color across the nation – including some of our dearest brothers and sisters, who wonder how they’re going to raise their dark-skinned children in such a racially hostile environment. To be clear, this is not a political statement or a judgment on an ongoing investigation in which Americans of all color are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But many of our brothers and sisters of color are hurting today… and we should individually and collectively let them know: “I see you.” I called a good friend of mine yesterday, a brother in Christ of color here at Anchor Point, and asked him how he’s feeling about the news in the Ahmaud Arbery case. He said it makes him feel mad, sad and frustrated that these things keep happening in our world today, and expressed many other personal feelings about it. I empathized with him and felt with him. I asked him how he’s processing all of this spiritually, and he said: “The fact that God knows and cares about what we’re going through is a great comfort to me. I know that God hates this as much as I do – even more so. And that he is as heartbroken as I am about it – even more so.” Jeremiah reflects the heart of God as he expresses how deeply he identifies with his people when they are hurting. “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”
(Jeremiah 8:21-22) While the context of this passage is Jeremiah’s heartache as he prophetically saw the pain and suffering that would accompany the exile of God’s people to Babylon, it surely describes the heart of God for us as well. When we mourn, God mourns. God not only mourns – he can also relate. The suffering of Jesus on the cross, has at its core, the awful pain of injustice. In fact, God assures us that every human being will suffer the pain of injustice in one way or another – it comes with living in a broken world, among other broken people. That’s why Jesus can relate to us – and teaches us how to process it. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:21-24) Don’t let injustice embitter you. Don’t let evil overwhelm you. Don’t let anger consume you. Know that Jesus can relate to you. Know that God mourns with you. And know that one day, all wrongs will be made right, and God will “let justice roll on like a river” (Amos 5:24, and quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King in his famous “I have a dream” speech.) And especially, know this: You’re not invisible. God sees you. And we see you.