compassion-God

A new perspective

“How are the fall colors?” my friend in Virginia asked the other night. She is coming to see me in Michigan in a few weeks and hoping to be in time to see the vibrant colors of our fall.

“We haven’t had a frost yet,” I said. “It is actually quite warm here—it’s in the 70’s.”

She laughed.

“What?” I asked.

“It is in the 70’s here, too,” she said, “and I was going to say how cool it is.”

Perspective. Same temperature but different conclusion.

perspective2

I think so much of what goes wrong in relationships is because we jump to conclusions without seeking clarification or understanding another’s perspective.

Yesterday, I facilitated a retreat session for a group of local volunteers. My topic was theological reflection, a process that helps look at things from God’s perspective, that invites God into a situation and asks, “How does God invite me to see this person or situation?”

In preparation, I spent some time practicing theological reflection A friend from whom I am feeling disconnected came to mind, so I asked God, “What are you inviting me to learn from this disconnect?”

When I open myself to this conversation with God, I usually hear God ask me to love unconditionally, to forgive without limit and to let go. God invites me to see the person or situation from a stance of compassion and mercy. No matter how hurtful something might have been, when I look at it from God’s perspective, it looks different.

From God’s perspective, the person who hurt me is loved as much as I am. God invites me to see that the hurt was a result of my unrealistic expectations and/or that person’s limitations or brokenness. Theological reflection helps me understand the Biblical injunction to love my enemies and to pray for my persecutors (Matthew 5:44).

During the retreat session yesterday, I asked the volunteers to recall a specific incident which showed that their expectations had not been met, a time when they thought, “I didn’t expect that” or “That is not how I imagined it.” Unmet expectations often lead to disillusionment, and disillusionment can lead to negative feelings and actions.

Once they had an incident in mind, I asked them to invite God into the situation, to describe to God what happened and to sit with God and look at the person or situation through God’s eyes.

Reframing the situation from God’s perspective helps to see a bigger picture. My unmet expectations then become more about me instead of about the people or situation that let me down. Changing my expectations—or at least being more aware of them—can change my perspective and help to me understand people and events in a different way. When I see things from God’s perspective, I can more easily let go of hurt and anger. I can be more open to compassion and mercy, less judgmental and more forgiving. I can move toward freedom.

 

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9 thoughts on “A new perspective

  1. annemarielom

    I just facilitated a retreat, Seeing with the Eyes of St. Francis” and your insights were a wonderful addition. Seeing with someone else’s eyes, and then the eyes of God is a fery profound experience. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    I talked with the Jesuit volunteers about St. Frances Cabrini’s experience of switching her heart with Jesus’ heart and “seeing” with Jesus’ eyes. I suggested they try for a day to see everyone and everything that happens through the eyes of Jesus.

    Reply
  3. chickabiddieshome

    This post was spot on for me this am. I awoke feeling anxiety, the inevitable fear that follows and leads me into depression. Reading your post reminded me to change my perspective to God’s. To love anyways. I loved how you say the one who has hurt me is just as loved as me. Thank-you for sharing

    Reply
    1. Madeline Bialecki Post author

      Thanks for reading and following my blog. I am glad this post was helpful. It is always easier to see things from our perspective–and God always invites us into looking with fresh eyes.

      Reply

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