JESUS…AND “THE LOOK”
My oldest son was practicing a speech a few years ago. He basically was reading straight from his notes without looking up at all. So I, being a seasoned speaker, encouraged him to look at his audience, make eye contact, engage them in his speech, etc. As he practiced these new techniques on me, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. His eye contact with me was serious, squinting, and piercing…like Superman. I felt like at any moment, lasers were going to burst forth from his eyes and blast me into a million pieces. Needless to say, he softened his “look” and did a great job on his speech.
I was reminded of that story this morning as I read the following passage:
Mark 10:17-22 (The Message)
17As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
18-19Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
20He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
22The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
This is such an interesting story. This guy, probably very excited, perhaps a little nervous, ran up to Jesus and basically asked, “How do I get to heaven?” In short, Jesus rattles off a few of the 10 Commandments, to which the guy proudly responded, “Yep, I’ve kept all of those!”
Then verse 21 is what catches my eye. “Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him!” Uh oh…could it be…”the look”? You know…that look. You’ve all received it from some authority figure, peer, family member, or co-worker in your life. It can mean a variety of different things—disappointment in you, frustration with you, something serious is coming, bad news is imminent, etc. Whatever it means, it’s not pleasant. But Jesus looked this guy hard in the eye—and loved him!
What a great lesson for us. We encounter folks all the time who disappoint or frustrate us. We sometimes have to have serious, difficult, or unpleasant conversations with people. It’s part of life. But next time that happens, be careful about “the look.” Put the lasers away. Let’s model Jesus.
Look the person hard in the eye.
Loaded with grace.
When was the last time you were the recipient of “the look”?