The old adage about how it’s always in the last place you look? Well I certainly didn’t plan on finding conviction in the nosebleeds at a Lady Gaga concert last night, but whaddya know?
As she sat down, in a black velvet bodysuit with one bedazzled sleeve, on the bench of her prismatic, translucent piano – she turned backwards to speak directly to a fan we couldn’t see. She turned back around to share the story of a young woman she’d met on a tour years prior during a meet ‘n’ greet – a girl named Emma who was wheelchair-bound with cerebral palsy. Mother Monster shared with us how she wanted to build a community that was welcoming, loving, accepting … a place where no one was excluded or ignored. Someone like Emma might be gawked at or made fun of, but not if Gaga had anything to do with it. Before she started singing “The Edge of Glory” she said, in reference to anyone that might feel ‘less than’ and how we might view them…
But don’t look away.”
Damn it Gaga, that’ll preach.
This week your Hopers are each assigned one of the seven things that our Lord really really hates, and guess which mine is?
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19
Well, cue the Alanis Morissette, because of all the judgmental (hand-raised), high-maintenance (Yo, over here), vain (waving arms in the air) women writing for you every day I’m the one who gets to chat about haughty eyes.
Kewl. Kewl with a k.
I’ll own it, I didn’t want to write about this.
I’ve said before, out loud: “If you ever see me hanging out with an ugly person it’s probably outreach.” and then I’ll giggle as if to make sure people know I’m joking (but I’m not really joking.)
I’d like to believe that my “haughty eyes” came as a career hazard – I worked in fashion buying, merchandising and styling for years. I’ve been a hair designer and make-up aficionado for years. My work week (and paychecks) literally revolved around pretty things and pretty people, and I love(d) it! I also loved that my co-workers and pals would geek out with me about the newest Italian cashmere from the oldest mills or a new styling cream that added volume and texture to fine tresses. So my social world revolved around pretty things and pretty people too.
Over the years it became more and more important. People wouldn’t take it seriously that I was good at what I did if I didn’t look a certain way, and if I was good at what I did than wouldn’t the people closest to me look a certain way too? If it mattered to me, the quality of my skin or the ensembles I layered over it, wouldn’t my passion for alltheprettythings matter to those I surrounded myself with?
And one day, in my office – pouring over line sheets working through an order for winter’s newest trends, someone sort of laughingly said “You know you’re mean sometimes, right?”
Surely not me. I studied Theology and Women’s Ministry! I love Jesus! I was committed to my church and leading a Bible Study! I literally made it my life’s goal and mission to love other people and tell them about God! …and yea sure I also sortofmaybe made it a mission to tell people if they needed bangs or blush too, but I never considered myself to be mean.
I don’t think God hates curling irons or Fashion Week, but I do know that He hates, well, according to Proverbs 6 more than hates PRIDE. Because isn’t that what “haughty eyes” stem from? It’s looking at the world, at other kids He created with just as much love and care and thinking “I’m better than you because of _________.”
How have you been filling in that blank?
Sure okay, you might not ever say it out loud but are you better because your husband has a six-figure salary?
Is your neighbor ‘beneath you’ because they have cats and you have cute kids?
Do you treat your sister with disdain because she’s overweight?
Is it hard not to talk down to the co-worker who didn’t go to college?
Or, heaven forbid – literally, have any of us ever looked at someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God as someone less than? Or someone He loves less?
I can tell you that infuriating the King of the Universe – one who is righteously angry and jealous and eternally mighty – terrifies me.
So, what can I do? What can we do?
Getting the haughty out of our eye-sockets is more about getting it out of our hearts. And it starts with reminding ourselves of who we are:
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical bodythrough death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” Colossians 1:21-23
And if you’re needing a little more humbling, flip to Job 38-40 when God Himself gives Job one wallop of a reminder about who He is.
When you’re looking at another person that Jesus died for, let THAT be the lens you view them through. When you’re looking at yourself in the mirror as the most mighty, it might be time to hit your knees and talk to the One who really rules.
People are worth seeing for who they truly are (and for Who they belong to) … and we’ll miss the value in each human heart if we only see the flaws or stay too focused on ourselves. I pray for both of us that when we walk into our kitchen or conference room tomorrow, noticing the individuals we might not have “seen” before, that God gives us His gaze and this reminder, courtesy of one very bedazzled, very famous popstar:
But don’t look away.