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Lend Me Your Eyes

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If I had your eyes I could see what you mean. If I had your eyes I could understand your pain and perspective. If I had your eyes I wouldn’t be so defensive. If I had your eyes…

I was speaking at a faith-based business luncheon recently and was approached by a young man after the meeting with some questions about a few things I had said during my presentation. At first I thought he was genuinely seeking answers, but I soon discovered he was only looking for an opportunity to argue, I mean, “defend.”

I had just poured my heart out to the audience for the previous thirty-five to forty minutes, and all this guy could think about was something I said that didn’t measure up to the way he had been taught and had come to believe. I tried explaining myself, but my explanation fell on deaf ears. I even tried backpedaling and apologizing for anything I had said that may have offended him. Nothing I said was sufficient. He couldn’t see what I was saying. He even went as far as to tell my wife, after I walked away, “I have to call your husband a blasphemer.”

Friend, I’ve been seeking, speaking, teaching, training and expounding on the fundamentals of life, personal achievement, and faith since I was twelve years old. I’m now fifty. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but the one thing I’ve NEVER been called is a blasphemer. To blaspheme is to talk irreverently about God or sacred things.  How can you talk irreverently about Someone or something you revere so much?

This guy went on to complain to one of the directors of the meeting, demanding, “We can’t have this guy speak here again.”  Mind you, this was the FIRST TIME this guy attended the meeting. Who died and left him in charge? The unfortunate thing is, if asked, he would probably defend that, “Jesus did.”

Friend, if you are a person of faith, be proud of that fact. Keep seeking, keep reading, keep asking, and keep growing in what you hold sacred. Share your faith even with those you love or feel compelled to share with. BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, please DON’T use what you think you know to be RIGHT to try and PROVE what someone else holds true out to be WRONG. You are hurting yourself and your fellow humanity.

“If you are secure in your faith, someone else’s faith won’t intimidate you.”              – Jeff Crume

This guy was not even “dry behind the ears,” as my Mom used to say, and he comes in “gun-slinging” his interpretations and understandings around like he’s the expert on the subject. What he couldn’t see was how much he was hurting those he thought he was righteously obligated to help.

This is what gives God a “bad name.” This behavior is EXACTLY what I’ve dealt with as a Hospice Chaplain and grief and crisis counselor over the years. I can’t begin to tell you how many dying people’s view of God, faith, and eternity is so damaged because of a message they heard from a “messenger” like this guy.

I’ve spent most of my time, as a hospice chaplain, undoing the damage that some bible-totin’, faith-shoutin’ scripture-slingin’, immature professing “believer,” who slaughters people with the same message that was intended to set them free, has done to the dying person at one point and time in his or her life.

If I had your eyes I would understand why you are so passionate about what you do and what you believe. If I had your eyes I would know why you are who you are, believe what you believe, and act the way you act. BUT I DON’T. I have MY eyes, and I only see through my eyes. I can only see what you see through my eyes.

Even if we both see the same thing, we will interpret it different. – Jeff Crume

Who’s “right” and who’s “wrong” when two well-meaning people see the same thing from different perspective? I would argue that neither are. They are each “right” or “wrong” in their own eyes. “Beauty is in the eyes of beholder,” they say. This guy couldn’t begin to see what I was saying. I could, however, see where he was coming from. Why? Because I used to see it that way too.

If we look closely enough, we can see our reflection in others. That’s how you know you are growing. – Jeff Crume

My mistake was trying to help him see. (Be discerning about who you try to persuade or influence.) You could spend the rest of your life studying your faith and still not know everything there is to know about it. You could spend a lifetime studying your craft and still not ever know everything. You may know enough to have some success or become effective and influential to a certain degree with what you know, but you don’t know, and you will never know, everything there is to know.

What if what you don’t know is what someone else has discovered? What if what you couldn’t find, they did? What if the key to freedom you searched for your entire life but never found, they discovered it? One step further. What if someone offered you what they discovered but you refused it because it didn’t look like you thought it should?

The mistake is in the thinking it’s our responsibility or moral duty or obligation to prove our point. That will weigh you down and kill you, AND, kill a lot of people you are supposedly trying to enlighten with your truth. Truth, remember, sets people free, it doesn’t imprison them. If what you so desperately defend has got you tied up in knots, I would suggest you rethink what you think you know.

Although I applaud the man’s zeal to do what he felt was right, I abhor the way he went about it. He missed the entire point of my presentation, which was to find commonality in our humanity. In order to find commonality, I have to be willing to RESPECT and HONOR difference.

The next time you encounter what you perceive to be an injustice, or the next opportunity you have to disagree with me, lend me your eyes so I can better see what you see. Ask me my perspective and how I came to believe what I believe.

To make your world a better place, GENUINELY take interest in someone else’s view. Listen with your whole heart rather than just listening so you can catch your breath and formulate your next rebuttal. To make the world a better place, lend me your eyes.

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