Five years ago I inadvertently placed my ankle between the swinging head of an irate Holstein and a concrete pad. Something had to give which turned out to be my ankle. I spent some time in a walking boot both before and after a small surgery to stabilize the fracture. Where I had never really paid much attention to walking boots before, now I noticed them everywhere. At airports, conventions, limping down busy city sidewalks, sitting across from me in meetings. Now I would approach people with boots and ask what happened and how they were doing. My experience suddenly opened me to a group of people I previously ignored or, at least, didn’t notice.
One of the least attractive aspects of our fleshly nature is the tendency to view life from an egocentric perspective. We look at everything in terms of how it impacts us. This is why before my ankle injury walking boots were irrelevant to me. One of the most significant calls to repentance is to view life from the other’s point of view. Sadly we can relate to Jonah whining to God about his precious gourd dying from the worm attack but refusing to be bothered by the plight of over 100,000 souls in Nineveh.
As my ankle injury connected me to a whole group of similarly injured people so the Ruach (Spirit) opens our eyes to see life from the perspective of others. The entire basis of the golden rule enunciated by Yeshua concerns treating others the way you would like to be treated. The failure to see the evil of our self-absorption has led to some of the most horrific crimes in history—black slavery, the Trail of Tears (at least four separate instances), pogroms, the holocaust, the Inquisition, etc. As Israelites being brought to restoration, repentance from this self-blindness is absolutely mandatory.
Yeshua transformed us through his life, death and resurrection by so identifying with our situation that he joined us in our humanity. He experienced temptation, cold, hot, hunger, fatigue, the fickle misery of being human.
Joie and I have been happily married for over 46 years. Initially I went into marriage thinking that Joie would meet all my needs and make me happy. This is the epitome of the egocentric world. We see the world as a place that exists to meet our needs and make us happy. When that fails to happen we complain and lash out at the unfairness of life.
In Ephesians 5 Paul tells us to submit to each other. He then tells husbands to love their wives as Yeshua loved the church and gave up his life for her. Yeshua sacrificed much to come to earth and see it from our point of view. I realized that I didn’t really love Joie until I became more concerned about meeting her needs than having her meet mine. Love is light, it gives and keeps on giving. It doesn’t take.
During these strategic 40 days let us come before our Father and ask for His eyes to view one another. To truly care for and empathize with each other. In our disputes and disagreements with each other, this will go a long way toward healing our differences. As the prophet Isaiah tells us in chapter 2:5 Come, O house of Jacob; let us walk in the light of YHWH.
John M. Conrad, House of Aaron
Introduction to 2018 40 Days of Repentance: https://bneyyosefna.com/2018/08/12/40-days-of-repentance-introduction-for-2018/
Glossary to 2018 40 Days of Repentance: https://bneyyosefna.com/2018/08/12/glossary-of-terms-for-40-days-of-repentance/