By Jim Wilder and Ed Khouri
(Part 2 of 10 from the article, “Through the Eyes of Heaven:
Does ‘Talking It Through to Find Peace’ bring Shalom?”)
When what people say about us — or how we are treated — does not fit who we believe we are, we feel hurt and upset. It feels as if our motives, behavior, intentions, capacities, status, or image are somehow misrepresented. In short, talking it through is our attempt to restore our image to how we want our identity seen through the eyes of others — even though most of us know that how we want to be seen is not perfectly accurate. We want to make ourselves understood on our own terms.
For spiritually alive people, as would be the case with Christians, there is an additional level of distortion to overcome. Sometimes we see things through the eyes of earth and sometimes through the eyes of heaven. We have an old self that is dying and a new self that is sort of not yet visible. Still, the Bible tells us that we should no longer identify one another according to the flesh but according to the spirit. “Therefore, from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer” (2 Cor 5:16 NASB)
Clearly, our flesh is the part of us that is upset and insists on talking it through. It always sees through the eyes of earth and demands to be understood by others. To the flesh, “understanding” means that others feel just as distressed as we are about people and upsetting situations. It demands that others agree with our eyes of earth perspectives and grows trust with those whose fleshly perspective reinforces our own. In this way, sharing compatible flesh and seeing life through the eyes of earth together become the basis for our relationships. Our flesh will view others who do not share our perspectives with great distrust. It rejects those who see us through the eyes of heaven as new creations in Christ because these dynamics don’t share the narrative of our flesh. Can two people –united by the flesh, the eyes of earth, and the rejection of the eyes of heaven – live in the Spirit?
We are directly told in Hebrews 12:2 not to look at people or our pain through the eyes of the earth (the natural way). We “look away from the natural realm and focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” (TPT). In this text, we see that the upset caused by pain is made peaceful by looking away from the natural realm rather than fully exploring it and talking it through.
An accurate understanding of who we are through the earth’s eyes will still not see the truth about who we are eternally. Second Corinthians 5:17 explains: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (NASB).
Just as the misrepresentation of our identity causes us to lose our peace, exploring who we are according to the flesh blocks peace. Should we fully explore all the distortions that steal our peace before looking for the Truth? If who we are as spiritual people is revealed by the Spirit of peace — our referee — shouldn’t we find peace first (not as the world gives) and then speak to one another?
If our brains cannot quiet themselves — to return to joy from the six unpleasant emotions and stay quiet in the presence of others — we will need practice. Training happens when people who can keep their peace come to our rescue while our brains are agitated. Speaking while we are still agitated to a stronger, peaceful brain teaches us to find peace. These training sessions are like having a tow truck pull our car out of a ditch. But if, after ten years, we hire a tow truck to haul our car everywhere we want to go, we are not learning to drive.
In the same way, if you or I continue to speak without peace and without finding peace from the Spirit first, we are violating what God tells us. Our words should reflect the wisdom from above that we read in James 3:17-18 ESV is peaceable: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Peaceful wisdom flows from spiritual vision and seeing one another with the eyes of heaven. By taking time to seek God’s perspective, we gain the benefit of seeing our identity with heaven’s eyes.
Watch for our next blog: “The Shortcomings of Trying to Talk Our Way Back to Peace” — the third of our series of excerpt from the article, “Through the Eyes of Heaven: Does ‘Talking It Through to Find Peace’ bring Shalom?”By Jim Wilder and Ed Khouri.