(Part 5 of 10 from the article, “Through the Eyes of Heaven: Does ‘Talking It Through to Find Peace’ bring Shalom?”) By Jim Wilder and Ed Khouri
Our perception of reality is skewed by all the wounds and hurts we experience — whether they result from our sin or someone else’s. Throughout every life, Satan is behind some things that hurt us. What are those sins that so easily pierce us — keeping us from freedom and resilience? Instead of focusing on what is wrong and talking about what has been done to us, we must look to Jesus to find peace. Through heavenly eyes, Jesus and his cloud of witnesses can clearly see these areas of sin grow.
Looking at wounds with the eyes of earth as the basis for our relationships helps keep us stuck in sin and its pain. With earthly eyes, we spread the infection of the enemy’s work to our whole group. The wounds become “infected,” reducing our community’s peace, joy, and attachment love. Let’s consider some of these sins.
- Valuing low joy instead of despising shame: Jesus focused on the value of the relationships and the joy set before him during his suffering. When we set our attention on every earthly perception that lowers our joy, we give great value to our agitation. When we only see through the eyes of earth, we become agitated. Yes, it is very painful. No one ever claimed that Jesus’ betrayal and death didn’t hurt. But was he agitated or peaceful? By allowing peace to be our referee and seeing with heaven’s eyes, we share peace instead of spreading agitated pain that lowers joy.
- Unforgiveness: Earth’s eyes fail to forgive because they insist that the offender (as we see them) is responsible for our pain. The eyes of heaven see that those who hurt us are not their true selves. Jesus points out that if we judge others by earth’s eyes, God will judge us the same way. Matthew7:2 NIV tells us, “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” God will do the same for us if we hold people’s flesh against them (Matt 6:15).
- Bitterness: Seeing others through earth’s eyes prevents forgiveness and builds bitterness when similar injuries come our way. Does that bitterness easily stick to us? Peter says in Acts 8:23 NASB, “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” Iniquity refers to the deformities caused by all those arrowheads we allow to remain embedded in our flesh. How does bitterness cause us to speak? Paul says in Romans 3:14 KJV, “whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” Paul does not tell the church to talk it through but instead tells the Ephesians, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Eph 4:31 ESV). These wounds and subsequent sins perpetuate within those who do not use the eyes of heaven. This kind of sin not only continues to injure us, but it also injures others when we talk without peace. Hebrews 12:15 AMP instructs, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”
- Lowering status (wasting grace): Defiling ourselves and others is the opposite of grace. Instead of feeling special, we feel less than we were. Talking through all the ways we feel we have had our status lowered by people or talking through all the ways we see others’ faults lowers the status of everyone and obscures our true selves. In our agitation and lack of peace, who others are in the eyes of heaven — and who we are as well — becomes unimportant. Spiritual community cannot be built by talking things through when the status of our selves or others is undermined.
- Enemy mode thinking: Enemy mode thinking always derives from seeing through earth-only eyes and is highly contagious. A mind in enemy mode cannot see others and their motives correctly. Such thinking creates “sides” while pressuring others to take our side. Enemy mode thinking always wants to be right and either attacks or avoids others. It never comes from shalom/peace but mimics peace through indifference and coldness. Talking through our enemy mode thoughts is not how to build spiritual community.
- Self-justification: The flesh — including its earth eyes — seeks to justify itself. The eyes of heaven see no form of human self-justification as true. Talking through our self-justifications cannot build spiritual community. In Titus 2:3 KJV, Paul says we must learn to avoid becoming accusers. The word used for “accusers” translates as devils. We become devils (διάβολος diabolos): When we speak without peace, we share the perception of our earth eyes and call it talking through a problem. Earth eyes are the product of the devil’s work and shape our perceptions through all the attacks we suffer and the wounds he inflicts. When we hold onto these without finding peace, we give Satan hidden access to our minds and perceptions — talking through our upset feelings while we are agitated invites Satan’s kingdom to create our reality. Lacking the eyes of heaven, we tear down any hope of building spiritual community.
- One spirit or the other — Satan and earth’s eyes or the Holy Spirit and the eyes of heaven — will interpret our pain. Scripture strictly commands one and forbids the other. The difference between the two is plain to see. Letting an injury-based identity take over produces sins that continue inviting Satan’s kingdom to bring us understanding, truth and peace. Our culture encourages talking while agitated, expecting those who care to be upset along with us, and understanding each other’s perspective and feelings is the way to form attachments, friendships, community, and spiritual fellowship. Shall we keep doing our sharing and bonding that way?