Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who Do People See?

In today's Gospel (John 12: 44-50) Jesus tells us that "whoever sees me sees the one who sent me." It made me wonder - when people see me, who do they see?
Now, I think I am a pretty good person. Not perfect, but pretty good. But I also know that some of those things that keep me from being perfect are pretty big. In reflecting on this, I have to admit that they can overpower the good that I have, become distractions to people who are around me. Whether it is my need to be right, my desire for control or wanting things to be a certain way, these can get in the way of what I really want to communicate.
If indeed I am a follower of Christ and want others to know Him through me, I need to be more aware of those things that prevent people from seeing Christ in me. I believe with all my heart that the Lord sent me and continues to send me to my family, loved ones, friends, parishioners and strangers. But my words and actions sometimes prevent them from seeing Him.
So, what can I do to help improve this?
The first step has to be increasing my self-awareness. There are many ways that this can happen. For those who like to write and are comfortable expressing their thoughts in this way, keeping a journal may help. I have never been a "journal Person", however. For me the best way is to take time each day before sleeping to reflect on the day. It is a form of the traditional "examination of conscience" that has been part of people's lives for centuries. But I have to move it from simply being an exercise in reflecting on sins to one that reflects on relationships. Each night I need to look back over my day and review my encounters with people. I have to ask myself what worked and what didn't work. How did I let the presence of the Lord be seen through me, and what did I do that blocked people from seeing Christ? What can I do differently next time?
It is only be reflecting on this and making a plan that I can change. And I need to change in order to let people see Christ when they see me. If not, I am really missing the point and missing opportunities to get closer to Him myself.
So, how about you? Who do people see when they see you?

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