JUST A MINUTE: 20/20 VISION
by Gustav Krös (new Director)
With the year 2020 at hand, it seems fitting to draw on analogies of ‘20/20 vision’ when looking at the year ahead. To begin, what is 20/20 vision? The Oxford Dictionary describes it simply as, “the ability to see perfectly without using glasses or contact lenses”.
At INcontext we regularly speak of looking at what’s happening in the world through ‘glasses’. The reality is that we all view the world through certain ‘glasses’ – whether it is cultural, economic or political – there are many different points of view from which we form our perspectives on various issues. As Christians, however, it should be our desire to view things from God’s perspective. We need to take off our ‘glasses’ and look at events from His perspective.
It seems quite fitting then that ‘20/20 vision’ is the ability to see perfectly without using glasses. It is thus not a case of taking off one pair of glasses and putting on your ‘God glasses’. No, it’s to take off all the different ‘glasses’ the world has taught us to use when looking at things and to ultimately get to a point of looking at things without any glasses – seeing the world as God sees it, the way it really is. This is ultimately the only perspective that truly matters.
This is a lot easier said than done and the reality remains that as long as we walk this earth, we will never be able to see everything exactly as God sees it. As it is written in 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” But this shouldn’t keep us from pursuing God’s perspective on matters. There are simple principles we can implement to rid ourselves of the ‘glasses’ we have been forced to wear. I would like to highlight one of these principles.
In April 2019 I had the privilege of attending a very strategic conference focusing on Syria, both from a spiritual and a practical perspective. There were international speakers addressing different dynamics that currently influence Syria and the Church in Syria. One of the speakers was a Messianic Jew from Israel who spoke about the relationship between Israel and Syria, and the relationship between the Church in Syria and the Church in Israel.
With all the nations in the Middle East and North Africa (except Israel) being Muslim-majority nations, there is a natural hostility towards Israel from all the countries surrounding it. With this hostility being part of the culture of all these nations it can unfortunately influence the churches’ point of view towards Israel as well. This is also true for Syria, that has the added contentious issue of the Golan Heights that is claimed by both nations, but falls under Israel’s control since the ‘Six-Day War’ in June 1967.
During his session the speaker from Israel addressed the Syrian pastors attending the conference and he acknowledged the reality of the animosity between their two nations. Then he went on to say that the relationship between their two nations shouldn’t influence their personal point of view of each other’s nations and it should also not influence their relationship with each other. He said that he stands in front of them as an Israeli, but also as a brother in Christ and that they are bound together through the Holy Spirit whether they like it or not. If they carry negative feelings within their hearts towards Israel, then they also carry it towards him, because he is part of Israel. He then encouraged the Syrian pastors to accept him as a brother in Christ and to change their perspective towards Israel. He asked them to stop looking at Israel through the cultural and political ‘glasses’ they have been raised with and to start looking at Israel through their relationship with the Church in Israel.
This principle is not only applicable to the Church in Syria and Israel, but is applicable to all of us. We are all part of societies that have divisions on various levels, and when we choose to focus on the Church despite these divisions, we find a new perspective that will influence our lives on multiple levels. We will come to see that the Body of Christ has spread all over the world and transcends all corners of society. We will see that we are part of something much bigger than what our culture, country or political standpoint dictates.
It will change how we pray for situations and how we pray for people. It will change the content of our hearts towards people and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit within our hearts. In the end it will also help us to understand something of how God views us. Because of Christ He no longer sees what separated us from Him, but He looks at us through the blood of Christ and with the fruit of the Spirit at heart, and this is His desire for all people.
It doesn’t matter which divisions are prevalent within your society, let’s strive towards a ‘20/20 spiritual vision’ in this new year and get rid of the political, cultural or racial ‘glasses’ we are wearing and choose to rather focus on the Body of Christ within our situations. May we look past the temporary issues that divide us and rather focus on the eternal issues that unites us.