Looking or Seeing? - Sunday, February 3, 2019
Can your eyes be fooled? It actually happens every day. What looks like a leaf sometimes turns out to be a well-camouflaged insect. A shadow on the wall can make a harmless tree branch look like something much more menacing. And the objects in a rear-view mirror are often closer than they appear.
Those are usually harmless mistakes. But what about our perceptions when we look at a person? We might think we can easily discern a person’s intelligence, moral character, and abilities. But are our eyes deceiving us?
A newspaper reporter was covering the story of a soup kitchen that served the homeless. She chose a patron to interview, a middle-aged woman, and asked what she thought of the facility. The woman gave an articulate, detailed analysis and expressed her gratitude, stunning the reporter with her poise and confidence. It was a lesson learned not to judge someone by appearances.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”1 When you view a beautiful painting, you are looking at brushstrokes, colors, and lines. But what do you see? That depends on whether or not you allow the artwork into your heart, to teach you, to move you, to inspire you. Every painting is more than just paint.
And the same is true of every person. When we meet someone, do we look beyond the outward appearance to see the soul within?
We’ve all been misjudged and labeled based on nothing but a hasty first impression. Sadly, we sometimes even misjudge ourselves; self-judgment is often the harshest kind of all. And we have witnessed how sweeping generalizations based on culture, politics, or religion can prevent us from seeing that we have more in common with one another than it may appear.
Don’t let your eyes—or your prejudices—deceive you. If we are willing to see past the superficial and treasure the very heart of those we meet, we’ll realize that each human being we meet is one of God’s precious children. That is the difference between looking and seeing.
1 Journal entry for Aug. 5, 1851, in Henry David Thoreau, The Journal: 1837–1861, ed. Damion Searls (2009), 65.
February 3, 2019
Broadcast Number 4,664
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Shaker song; arr. Ryan Murphy
There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today
John R. Sweney; arr. Mack Wilberg
Little David, Play on Your Harp
Spiritual; arr. Andrew Unsworth
I Whistle a Happy Tune, from The King and I
Richard Rodgers; arr. Sam Cardon
All People That on Earth Do Dwell
Attributed to Louis Bourgeois; arr. Mack Wilberg