If any of you have ever seen the movie, Avatar, you might remember a scene when Neytiri explains to Jake Sully that “Sky People cannot learn. They do not see.” Sky people are earthen visitors—actually, they are more like invaders into the lives of the Na’vi people, the indigenous peoples of Pandora. Very few of the Sky People are interested in learning the ways and language of the indigenous Na’vi. Most Sky People want nothing more than to serve their own agenda. This is primarily why the Sky People can not see. They lack the important insight that births relationships that grow beyond superficiality. It isn’t until Neytiri and her new friend Jake Sully had spent a good amount of time together, as she sought to teach him the ways of the Na’vi and he in exchange opened his eyes and heart to “seeing into the Na’vi” that Neytiri turns to Jake and says, “I See You!” Jake responds truly with, “I See YOU!”
Those scenes of Avatar really stuck with me. As a missionary, living in the cloud forest of Ecuador for the past 8 years, I have had many learning opportunities and some pretty hard lessons while engaging with people relationally. It’s one thing to make acquaintances with folks and see them from time to time. It’s a whole other thing to build relationships with people, because real relationships are a 2-way street; a mutual exchange of giving and receiving–getting to know more than the surface of someone and letting them into me and my life in return. I admit this was a little scary for me at first. But in time, the Spirit of God began replacing my fear with a great love for people and a desire for relationships of integrity, love and truth, regardless of risk. As a result, some of those who “I see” have been able to minister to my very heart in the most profound ways as well. I have become more vulnerable, and it has been worth the uncertainty.
That said, I’ve lamented much in recent months over things that have caused me inability to “see” another. Oftentimes the general crux has been rooted in my own perceptions of how and what others should be. In other words, I viewed people through my own filters, thus completely missed who they really are. Getting to the nuts and bolts of being able to truly see another requires a moving and seeing beyond Self. I wonder often how much different our world, our neighborhoods, and our own lives might be if we could see more clearly, without all of the baggage and precepts we cling to that clouds our vision. Of course, experience shapes our perception, as does faith and the condition of the heart. There is a common phrase I hear often, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” There’s a lot of truth to that when looking through their eyes. But when seeing them with our own vision, perhaps we need to assess what our own windows reflect. Our own window is not a one-way glass. Jesus said,
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” ~Matthew 6:22-23
This is Part I of a Series…
Connect with Claudia vis Facebook