Ever noticed how you shake your head in disapproval when you look at a badly-behaved child, and then watched in disbelief as the parent, seemingly oblivious to the mischief of their child, gives them the warmest of hugs and showers them with kisses? How is it possible that two people can look at the same child and have completely opposite reactions?
This analogy crossed my mind as I was thinking of the way God sees us. As our heavenly Father He sees all our faults and failures, but He loves us in spite of them. It isn’t that He doesn’t care for those to change, but He sees beyond those things to something beautiful that is to become of us.
When Michelangelo was asked how he carved his magnificent David, he is believed to have said, “I looked inside the marble and just took away the bits that weren’t David.”
Tim Keller writing in his book, The Meaning of Marriage, speaks of how we are to view our spouse. One should be able to say to their spouse, “I see all your flaws, imperfections, weaknesses, dependencies. But underneath them all I see growing the person God wants you to be.”
Keller uses the analogy of the way a cloud covers a mountain. We might stand at the foot of the mountain and see nothing but the clouds. But every now and again the clouds pull back revealing a magnificent mountain. That he says is like looking at the renewed person behind the cloud of the old person. He writes, “The old self is crippled with anxieties, the need to prove yourself, bad habits you can’t break, and many besetting sins and entrenched character flaws. This new self if still you, but you liberated from all your sins and flaws. This new self is always a work in progress, and sometimes the clouds of the old self make it almost completely invisible.”
This is where the gospel of Jesus is crucial in marriage. You see the gospel declares us righteous in God’s sight, free and forgiven from our sin. God now looks at us through His Son Jesus. God looks at us not with burning wrath for our sin, but with dazzling love for our renewed selves, in His Son Jesus. He sees not with judgement but with grace and forgiveness. He sees not with condemnation but with delight.
If we can only look at our spouse through the eyes of our heavenly Father and see what He sees, a work in progress, a thing of beauty, how it will transform our marriages. It would change the way you love them now, if you could see the glory that God is bestowing on them. His purpose is to conform us to the likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29).
Meditate on the words of the Scriptures in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18 as you think about your marriage.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Give us eyes to see as you see, O Lord! Amen.
Chandran Samuel Kadambavanam