I remember the first time I was asked this question: third grade, by Sister Veronica who kept a 6” ruler handy in her habits side pocket for those without a quick answer.
Short? Pretty? Smart? Funny? Fifty-five years later I cannot recall what answer I gave, but I have kept this question front and center throughout my life. And I have meditated on the answer many times over the years with an assortment of personal adjectives, based on particular moments in life.
As a teenager this simple question would bubble through my subconscious and haunt me when I was tempted to follow the crowd and do something I knew to be wrong. In my twenties and thirties I know there were times Jesus saw me as impatient and quick to anger over what I now realize were insignificant events. Sometimes I was an indifferent wife, friend, sister, daughter. There were periods when I know Christ saw my indifference to His Word, and my anger at what I perceived to be HIS indifference to my needs.
How does Jesus see me…when I am making fun of others to make my friends laugh, myself feel important?
How does Jesus see me …when I cut someone off on the freeway and lay on my horn impatiently?
How does Jesus see me… when the clerk forgets to add an item to my tab and I keep silent, internally shouting ‘oh yeah’?
How does Jesus see me….when I refuse to forgive someone for an injustice?
Does Jesus ever see someone taking a few moments to compliment a stranger looking lonely or sad in the grocery aisle? Or does he see a person so intent on finishing her list she rushed through the aisles without seeing anyone?
Most of us go through our day on autopilot. We have responsibilities to families and work, chores to accomplish before another day starts, places to be. Children need to be to practices, games, school, doctor appointments. Our families are counting on us doing our part, hold up our end of the bargain. We are the drivers in the great ‘family’ plan.
But in the course of doing all that we do, do our actions cause Christ to smile, laugh, be pleased? Or do they cause him to wince, frown, and become disappointed?
Everyone, at some point, puts on a different face. For many, choosing the right clothes, hair style, vehicle, shoes, schools for our children consume our thoughts. But all of these accouterments are just pieces of the face we put on in order for others to like us, look up to us, envy us.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
In other words, Christ sees the image imprinted on our souls.
He does not care about your home’s square footage, but I am sure he cares whether your doors open to those in need He does not care if we wear designer shoes but, I am sure he is displeased when we fail to see if the feet of others are cold, weary, or in pain. He does not care if your children attend a prestigious school, but He will care if you as a parent don’t teach them about Him.
Take a moment before closing your eyes and honestly assess your accomplishments and interpersonal interactions for that day. Then ask yourself Sr. Veronica’s question: How did Jesus see me today?
For me, this question has made all the difference in my life.