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Christine Caine - Help Me to See

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I'm so glad you're with us today. I am so grateful that you've tuned in today. I know that God's got a word for you. We're gonna dive right into the text. We're gonna learn in this series how to see. And we're gonna look at the book of Luke chapter seven, one of my favorite stories in the Bible. In fact, this chapter is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible period. So Luke chapter seven verse 36. The Bible says, one of the pharisees asked him to eat with him. And he went into the pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold a woman of the city who was a sinner, as opposed to the rest of us who are like perfect, but anyways. That cracks me up, who was a sinner.

When she learned that he was reclining at the table at the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wipe them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner". And Jesus answering him said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you". And he answered, "Say it, teacher". "A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. When they could not pay, he canceled the debt of both. Now, which of them will love him more"? Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he canceled the larger debt". And he said to him, "You have judged rightly".

Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins which are many are forgiven, for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little". And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven". Then those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins"? And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you, go in peace". I mean, what a story! There's a whole lot going on in this text. And I love it, because we pick up here in Luke chapter eight and we're in the Gospel of Luke.

Now remember, we've had 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament, so we open and even getting up to Luke chapter eight, Luke chapter one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven are action packed, I mean God has made up for 400 years of silence. There is nothing boring. Jesus heals a man from demonic possession, he heals Simon's mother-in-law, you know, he's God if he's healing a mother-in-law. And then he, he actually, you know, calls his disciples and we see that up, and he cleanses the leper, he heals a paralytic, he ate with Levi the tax collector, he hung out with sinners, he healed a man with a withered hand, he healed the centurion's servant, he raised a widow's son from the dead. So by the time we get to Luke chapter eight, it's already happening, he's already highly controversial, he's hanging out with people that nobody would hang out with let along God. And he is associated with people that nobody else would be associated with.

So I just wanted to give you some context when we pick up in Luke chapter eight, of what's been happening. On top of all of that, Jesus then turns in, and he's eating with a pharisee, one of the pharisees asks him to eat with him, his name is Simon. And I love this, because it says, and behold, a woman of the city who was a sinner comes in. So an uninvited woman who is a sinner that commentators would say is highly likely to have been a prostitute. An uninvited woman walks in to a pharisee's house, a house full of religious, holy, devout men. Now here's my issue. I'm not sure that it was the first time that she ever went into that house, because why did they let her in? It doesn't seem that anybody stopped her. Were they like, "She's back"? I don't know. But I'm just saying that you know it's interesting that when she heard he was at the pharisee's house, so she obviously knew where the pharisee's house was, one wonders why the pharisee didn't kick this strange woman out.

Like if I was having a party and some random person just came into my party, I wouldn't be letting him in the front door, just coming into my party. I tend to wonder whether the guards and the security people and the servants maybe had seen her before and thought, oh, no biggie, she's back, Simon. Just putting it out there, just putting it out there, I'm just wondering why nobody thought it was strange that she was in there, that she came, that she had turned back. Everyone loves to point a finger at her, but I'm like, she's just doing a job. Why would she feel comfortable walking into the pharisee's house? Unless she may be potentially, possibly been there before. But anyway, you read what you want into the text, I'm just putting it out there. And so she does the unthinkable. She's uninvited, she does the unthinkable. She let's down her hair and begins to wash the feet of Jesus which is culturally, entirely unacceptable. At this time if you were a married woman and you let your hair down, that was grounds for divorce.

I mean, thank God we're not living in those days, not that my hair's long, but still, just saying. And so, this was not an erotic act at all, this was a passionate act where she's loving Jesus. And she takes very expensive perfume and she begins to wash the feet of Jesus. Now, some of the pharisees having a conversation with himself because he says, he goes on and it says, when the pharisee saw this, he said to himself, so he's talking to himself, that's an interesting concept right there. If this man were a prophet, he would've known what sort of sinner she was. Well, Simon obviously knew what sort of sinner she was. I'm just putting that out there, that you know, he obviously was well aware. So Simon's having a conversation with himself.

Now, he labeled her a sinner. He just gave her a label. He just objectified her. He just basically defined her by what she did not who she was, that's what objectification does. She's just a sinner. Not like she's a human being or she's a person, or she's a woman. Have you ever done that to anyone, where you're just kind of like that person is just that, or they're just of that race, or they're just that color, or they're just from that socioeconomic background, or they're just a laborer, or they're just a doctor, or they're just a, pick whatever it is. We just objectify, not like they're a human being, they're just that. So Simon's having a conversation. And he's like, if this man was a prophet, so someone's already got Jesus on trial. Then he would know that she's just a sinner, not a person, not a human being, but just a sinner.

Now, I love this, because the next thing that the Bible says, and Jesus answering him. Simon wasn't talking to Jesus, remember, he was talking to himself. It is extremely hashtag awkward when Jesus answers a question you never asked. Jesus is just going, I'm getting in your head. Because Simon was talking to himself, but Jesus was getting into Simon's head. And Jesus began to answer him. It makes me laugh, because Jesus knows what you're thinking. That's really what I wanna say to you, he always knows what you're thinking. Simon's having a conversation, Jesus answers him, even though he doesn't ask Jesus. And he turns around, and Jesus answers him in this way. And he answered him, a certain money lender, tells a parable, had two debtors, one owed 500 denarii, the one 50. When they could not pay, he canceled the debt of both. Now, which of them will love him more? Simon answered, the one, I suppose, for whom he canceled the larger debt. And he said to him, you have judged rightly, you have judged rightly.

So basically, he tells him this story of one who has been forgiven a lot, one was forgiven a, who do you think is gonna love more? And he's telling this story of this woman who's obviously been greatly forgiven and is lavishing her love upon Jesus. And sometimes when you forget that, you can be very stingy with your love. When you actually don't think that you have much to be forgiven of, because you're like a pharisee, you're just so awesome, that Jesus was really lucky when he got you. And so he didn't, you know, it is amazing how we can become stingy with our grace, how we can begin to objectify other people when we forget how much in need of grace we ourselves are, how much in need of mercy we ourselves are. You know, I am indebted to grace, I breathe on the grace of God, I need it for every breath I breathe. And when you know you've been forgiven much, you love much.

Do you see this woman? Now Simon had obviously objectified the woman. Simon had obviously labeled the woman a sinner. It seemed like Simon had even had a conversation with himself about the woman. But the one thing that Simon did not do is see the woman. See, you can be looking at something, you can be labeling somebody, you can be objectifying them and never seeing them for who they are. And Jesus said to the pharisee, Simon, do you see this woman? What a probing question! That's the question in this series over the next few weeks that you and I are gonna explore together. Do we see people or do we objectify people? Do we label people, do we marginalize people? Do we judge people? Because Simon had obviously done that. Simon had judged the woman. Simon had objectified the woman. Simon had labeled the woman. Simon had done everything except see the woman. If it was me here in my Bible, this story is called the simple woman forgiven.

Now, the little subheadings in our Bibles are not inspired, just so you know, they weren't written there in the original language, but the translators, someone put that in to help us. If it was me, but nobody asked me, but if it was me, I wouldn't call it a sinful woman forgiven, I would call it the blind pharisee. Because that's what he was, he was a blind pharisee. And his own self-righteousness made him blind. And I wonder today whether our own self-righteousness has made us blind to seeing people that God wants us to see. Here's the deal. That Simon the pharisee had Jesus, God incarnate himself was over at Simon's house. He was reclining at the table, he was eating food, so Simon had Jesus, God himself there in front of him and didn't even see him. It is amazing how much we can miss Jesus, how Jesus can be reclining in our midst, and we cannot even see him.

See, Simon was so blind, that he had the Creator of the universe over at his house for dinner and didn't even see him. Simon didn't see the woman as a woman, he just saw her as a sinner. So I wonder, Simon didn't see the woman, he didn't see Jesus, I wonder if you and I don't see people, do we actually see Jesus? And see a lot of times in our workplaces, what is it that we see? A bus that is a problem, a colleague that we can't stand, and it's amazing, we just objectify. When we're driving down the highway and someone cuts us in the traffic, do we see a person or do we see an enemy? It is amazing in our lives how often and in our culture of division, objectification, anger, divisiveness, how we're so often we're missing people, and we're just objectifying, labeling, just putting old tags on people, that's those sort of people, that's them sort of people. And I think when we stop missing human beings that are created in the image of God, we miss God, because there is an image of God in every single person that is created in his image.

Jesus says, do you see this woman? Do you see? Because you're talking about her, you're labeling her, you're judging her, but you're not seeing who she is. Not only that, Simon, but hey, surprise, I'm God, and you're not seeing me and I'm standing here. And I wonder, in the world of anger and terror that we live in today, whether we are missing people and because we're missing people, we're missing God in the midst of all of that. And if you don't people, you don't see Jesus. Jesus lives in people. And so the heart of the spirit of God lives on the inside of us if we're born again and filled with his spirit, if we are Christians, followers of Christ, God's Holy Spirit lives in us. And God's spirit in me bears witness to the God spirit in you. But every human being, even if they are not born again, is created in the image of God, and therefore, bears the image of God.

And so what we need to do, in order to bring peace, and blessed are the peacekeepers, that's who we are, the the peacemakers, actually, that's what we are. Blessed are the peacemakers, that's what we're here to do on this earth. In a world that is full of contention, in a world that is full of divisiveness, in a world that is full of anger, you and I are called to bring peace, peace into our homes, peace into our communities, peace into our workplaces, peace into our universities, peace into our sphere of influence, not division, not divisiveness, not anger. I think we will be very much, people will know that we are Christians in the days in which we live, with the ability that we have to come in and truly see people and bring peace into situations.

And it's easy to bring peace when a person is a person and not an object. When a person is a person, not an enemy. When a person is a person, not someone that we judge, because we don't like their lifestyle, we don't like their choices, we don't like who they hang out with. Our job is to love everyone, God's job is to judge people, not our sins, so that's what we do as Christians. We love and we view people. You know, as for me, all of us, we often look, but we don't see. I have to admit, if I'm honest, I've often been far more like the blind Simon than I have to see Jesus. I think there are people that in so many places in my life, I walk straight pass. I travel on planes a lot, and sometimes I'm so caught up in my world, I could walk straight the flight attendant as if they're not even a person there that is waiting to greet me, 'cause, you know, I'm on my phone and I'm focused. Or I could be getting something at the, at the store and I'm focused, I'm talking to somebody else as if that person isn't even a person that is serving me.

I know you're all perfect, so I'll just talk about my own sins and my own inadequacies. Or sometimes, you know, if I have to get my nails done and I've got my earphones on, and then I get out and I think, Christine, you could've had a conversation with people that have things going on in their life, and sometimes we are so self-absorbed. And I know we can't all do it all of the time, but I have to say that I definitely have had times in my life where I haven't seen people, I just walk straight pass them, I've taken them for granted, I've forgotten to thank them. And people are in the service industry and we sometimes, we can get really dismissive. We think, well, they're gonna get a tip anyway. That doesn't mean they're not a human being, that they're not a person that we need to value and that we need to esteem. And I'm preaching to myself as much as to everybody else on the other side of the screen, because we can all end up taking people for granted. Or you can have been in a situation where you feel like you're hidden in plain sight, and you're not even seen.

I remember I was at an airport, and I start to get coffee. And I went to my kids, and nick had gone onto the plane. And the door was still open, I was still within, you know, they close the door 10 minutes before departure. Well, I was still, it was about 15 minutes before departure and as I came in with the coffee, I remember standing at the airport, at the gate, ready to go in. And for some reason, the woman was just having a really bad day, and I was the victim of her bad day. And she goes, "You're not getting on there". I said, what do you mean? She goes, "Well, if you had time to get coffee, then you don't have time to get on the plane". And I thought, that's nonsense. I said, look, get a look at my watch, and I said, the gate's not closed yet, I said, look, the door is open. And she's like going on. I said, ma'am, would you take my boarding pass? And she wouldn't take it, she wouldn't do it. As the clock's ticking, so by now we're down to one minute to go to the point that they wouldn't let. And I'm like crying, and I'm going, ma'am, my children are on the plane, my children are on the plane. But in that moment, it's like I didn't even feel like a human being. I didn't even feel, she made me not feel like I was a valid human being. We've all been in a situation where we've been on the receiving end where someone has just overlooked us.

I remember being at school, and because I was the only Greek kid in a total Australian school, and I was just mocked and ridiculed and left out of so many, you know, there is nothing worse than when you are not only the last person picked for a team, when you're the only one that's not picked, and the teacher has to put you on a team, because nobody's picked you. But we all know what it feels like to be overlooked, to be not included, to be not seen. And we're gonna speak to that subject over the time of this series, because I think if we're gonna make a difference in the world, every one of us has to take responsibility to see the people in the world around us, not just the people that we think are important, not just the people that we think that matter, not just the people that we think they're important to network because they're gonna advance my career, but to understand that every human being is created in the image of God, and God has called every one us to love people.

Jesus said, Simon, do you see this woman? Jesus is asking us will we see the people around us? And you know on the other side of the screen, I want you to know that God sees you, God knows and God cares. You're sitting there and you're wondering, does anyone even know that I'm alive? Does anyone even see me? You did not tune into this series by accident, you have tuned into this TV at this program at this time right now because God wants you to know that he sees you, he knows you, he cares about you, he's got a plan and a purpose and a destiny for your life. God loves you, friend.

Part 2
Hey everyone, I'm so glad that you've joined us today. I'm so excited you're here. I'm so glad that you've tuned in today. We're in a series where we're learning how to see. It's one thing to look, it's another thing to see and I want you to know that Jesus sees you today right where you are and I believe he's got a word for you. We're in the book of Luke, chapter 7 and we've already set the precedent that this has been action-packed, action-packed book of the Bible. In Luke chapter 7, the Bible says, one of the pharisees asked him to eat with him and he went into the pharisee's house because Jesus always went where he wasn't supposed to go, so I love that about Jesus. And he reclined at the table. And behold a woman of the city who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at the table in the pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

Now when the pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, if this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is touching him, for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering him said, Simon, I have something to say to you. And he answered, say it, teacher. A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, the other 50. And when they could not pay, he canceled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more? Simon answered, the one, I suppose, for whom he canceled the larger debt. And he said, you have judged rightly. Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, do you see this woman? And this story's obviously very very challenging to all of us because we see in this text that the religious person, Simon the pharisee, he had judged this woman, he had objectified this woman, he had labeled this woman. He had done everything but see this woman.

And you know what, it's easy to judge Simon the pharisee but so often so many of us are just the same. We just walk past that beggar on the street and we just think in our heads actually, get a job. As opposed to rather maybe this person needs some help. What can I do? Sometimes we get interrupted at work and we've got something in a project we want to do and we just see this person as an interruption but this could be actually a divine appointment. And really my intention through this series is to say to each and every one of us that God's got a whole lot of divine appointments for us out there. We keep praying for them and God says, I've got them for you. You're just not seeing them. And that's the point because divine appointments normally come in the form of interruptions. They normally come in the form of inconveniences. They'll often come through people that we wish they wouldn't come through. We would rather not see them. We're like, please, I don't want to see.

And so the fact is that Simon is saying, hey, you know, he's calling her a sinner. He's objectifying her. I'm tending to wonder whether she had visited this house before when Jesus wasn't there because she knew where the house was and nobody was stopping her from walking into the house so one wonders how Simon was so intimately involved with knowing that she was a sinner. But anyway, that's just up for debate. And so my issue is that how about we stop labeling people? How about we stop objectifying people? How about we stop judging people? How about we start loving people with the love of Jesus Christ and the mercy of Jesus Christ? And the goodness of Jesus Christ. So you know what we do is we often put people in categories and we're seeing this. We're living in a very politically charged world and we're seeing on social media nowadays everyone vents their opinion and you see, we just label whole categories of people. We just label them and we just write them off without knowing and without learning to love them and without seeing who they really are.

I've got some glasses that my team's gonna bring me up in just now but it's time for us to change the lenses in our spiritual glasses, and I think it's absolutely crucial that we do that. My daughter, I have to wear glasses too. I held off until I was 50. I have to admit that pride did get the best of me and I was full of pride and I was full of vanity. And I was pretending to read the Bible. What I was doing and I was doing this for TV so now I'm confessing to a whole worldwide TV audience. I would memorize it so that I could read it so that it looked like I knew what I was saying. But you know what, I'm now gonna humble myself in the sight of the Lord and I'm just going to absolutely own up to the fact that I have to wear glasses. Okay, so everything changes when you put glasses on. You go, wow, there's words on the paper. That was like fascinating to me. I didn't need to make it 78 point font anymore. It could just be like in this line, like, wow I can really read the Bible.

Now I remember it was like that with my daughter, Sophia. She wasn't doing that well at school and it was very strange because she's quite bright like her mother. And so she was, but it was really disproportionate, I thought it was very odd. So we took her to the eye doctor and I'll never forget it when she put on, when the doctor tested her eyes and then they put in lenses in the glasses and they put 'em on and I remember soph went like this and she went, mommy, there's words on the white-board. Like I started bawling. I felt like the worst mother on earth at that moment. But it's like everything changes when you put the right lenses in your glasses because you can suddenly see. And I'm wondering whether as Christians sometimes we've had the wrong lenses in our glasses.

Whether like Simon the pharisee, we had the lens of judgment and the lens of objectification or the lens of unforgiveness, or the lens of bitterness, or the lens of lust, or the lens of greed, or the lens of envy, or the lens of comparison, or the lens of competition because you know what, what your lens is will determine what you see on the other side. And what we need is the lens of God, the lens of mercy, and the lens of justice and the lens of truth and the lens of grace and forgiveness and love and peace, and joy and patience, and long-suffering. It's time that we change the spiritual lenses in our glasses, because I think we're suffering from spiritual blindness. We are just like the blind pharisee.

Simon, do you see this woman? How many people are you and I walking past every day? How many people in our own homes do we not see? They're just a pain to us rather than people that God has put us in covenant relationship with, so that his plans and his purposes are outworked. And I think we need to start seeing. See, some of us, our lenses are like these, they're so dirty. And like, man, we got, every, I'm gonna trip over here, I can't even see. But that's how we're getting up every day and we're walking around and it's just, man everywhere we look, the dirt on that and the dirt and we're like gossip column, Christian gossip columnists. We just tell the dirt on everyone but that's because we're looking through the dirt of our own lives. So you can tell someone they're tweeting dirt when they're reading dirt.

So what's on the lenses on your glasses or others of us, they're just so scratched. It's like, why everything looks fuzzy? And it's scratched and it's not quite right and it's got a scratch through and you see. It comes out of people's mouth and what comes out of your mouth is what's in your heart and what's in your heart gets there through your eyes. So what are you looking at, 'cause some of us, we're walking around with scratched glasses. And so, everywhere we're walking, we're seeing things through those lenses. Others of us, we've just got no lens. Just none. I'm like, sweetheart, you need a filter. You need a filter. And we're just walking around and we've got no, we've got no discernment. We're not seeing anything through the spiritual lens of God because we're just like, just looking through no lens. Our own flesh, our own carnality.

So everything is viewed through that. And God's saying, hey, I need to shift the lenses on your glasses. And that's what we're doing in this series. We're having a spiritual eyesight test and then we're gonna put on our glasses and go, wow, there's a world out there. There's people out there and I'm gonna look at them through the lens of love and grace and mercy and goodness and kindness and longsuffering and patience and self-control. And not through the lens of dirt or just my scratched up past or just my own carnality. No, they're the wrong lenses and so I'm gonna get rid of those glasses because they're just, that's what we literally need to do.

Some of us, what we need literally need to do is step and break those glasses and go, I'm putting on some new glasses. New glasses. It's time to stamp 'em out because that's what Simon the pharisee was using. He was using the wrong lenses to look through that. And you know, one of the lenses that we have to most change in the day you and i, we live in the advent of our social media culture. Hashtag selfie. There we are. Do you know that throughout our lifetime, I did the research. This changes every day. But there were 24 billion selfies uploaded in the last year. 24 billion. That's amazing. What they say is that there's one million selfies a day being uploaded. We are obsessed with ourselves. We love to look at our, we've got no time to look at anybody else because we're just looking, oh, do I look good?

And I want to show you my most authentic self, so I want to be transparent, I want to be vulnerable. I want this to be just authentic. Because we're just all authentic. So I'm gonna get out under the right light, and I need the right angle, and I need my hair in the right way, and then I need to put on the right filter so I can post my most authentic self up there for everybody because it's just got to look great. And if it doesn't get enough likes in the first 10 seconds, I'll delete it and take another one, because I've got nothing better to do than to look at myself. I'm just, we're spending so much time. We are so self-absorbed. We are raising a generation of hashtag selfies. We're just looking at us. Just us. They say that each of us will upload at least 25.000 selfies minimum in our lifetime. Just, nobody's that good-looking.

We are so absorbed. Do you wonder why we can't see a lost and a dying world around us? Do you wonder why we can't see people? Because we're too busy looking at us. We are the most narcissistic generation. He looked into a pool of water. We spend our times looking into our phones and posting pictures of us. Nobody's that interested in you except for you, which is why you spend so much time looking at you. And yet you and I have been called to reach others. And what I'm hoping we're gonna do through this series is that we're gonna change our camera and turn it around off us to other people. I hope it's as simple as switching that little app on our phone, that little button where you turn the camera around. I pray that we turn the camera around and I think Jesus was saying to Simon, would you turn the camera around a bit? Because you're looking at her through your own judgmental lens. I wish you would just see who she is. Why don't you put my divine lens on her?

See her through my divine lens and it would change the way you treat her, it would change the way you think about her. All of us would be different in the world around us if we saw people in a different way and if we saw them through the divine lens of the Gospel of grace. It's a Gospel of hope, it's a Gospel of love, it's a Gospel of mercy, it's a Gospel of goodness. It's a Gospel of goodness. Could we extend the same grace that God has extended to us to other people that we would love the world around us? Could we do that? If we do, we have to change the spiritual lenses in our glasses. In A21, when we started 10 years ago, I was in an airport in Thessaloníki, Greece and I was going to a woman's conference in Thessaloníki. I was so excited. And then I was gonna have a few days holiday on the Greek island of Santorini, which is where heaven is going to be in the new heaven and the new earth.

And so, I had just had a baby. I was just almost 41 years old and I just, when you pop out a kid at nearly 41, you are not looking to start any new ministry. You just want a purple heart and a holiday on a Greek island, okay? That's all I was looking for. So I got out and I remember standing at the baggage carousel. I was waiting for my bag. If you've ever been to Thessaloníki airport, it's so tiny. If you blink, you'll miss it. And so I was just waiting, but I noticed at the baggage claim there were all of these posters of missing women and children. And because I can read Greek, I was reading and I was reading these names and I was seeing all these children and I thought, this is so strange. Why is there so many missing kids? And I'm looking at their faces and they're so beautiful and these young women and a few men in the mix as well. And then I came across, I was looking looking looking and then there was this one little baby and her name was Sophia.

Now remember, I had just had a baby and my little girl, this little girl was a little bit older than the little baby I had just birthed and my little girl's name was Sophia. So when I saw a little baby girl with the name Sophia, and I had my baby girl Sophia, all of a sudden, I just began to bawl because I was thinking, imagine how that mother feels. How would I feel if someone had taken my child, if this was my baby? And it was in that moment that's when I say that A21 was actually birthed because in that moment, I went from looking to seeing. I no longer was looking at missing children. All of a sudden, I saw my daughter. All of a sudden, I saw a child that could have been my daughter. And see, when you look, you can look away. You can overlook, but when you see, you can never unsee.

And that is where everything changed in my life. I didn't even know human trafficking existed. At that point, I still didn't even know that's what it was. It was after that that my friend that worked at UNICEF went on to tell me that these were the alleged victims of human trafficking and that is where A21 started and here we are, a decade later, a global operation, helping children around the world. But if I was only looking and not seeing, there would be no A21. At one point, if you and I are gonna do the thing that God is gonna call us to do, then we have to stop looking at everything and everybody, and we have to start seeing, because looking and seeing are not the same thing. And I'll tell you how this happens and how it's exemplified. And we see this on social media all the time. Because you and I have become a scrolling generation. We just scroll straight through everything and look at nothing and we all look at everything and we see nothing.

And I can post a picture of me eating a kale salad. I could be eating a kale salad and several thousand people are gonna like me eating a kale salad. And I can post a picture of a girl being rescued out of slavery and I'll get half of the likes. And I look at that and I go, what are people not getting? How could you like me eating a kale salad more than you like a human being has been rescued out of sex slavery? You know what that shows me? It shows me that we're looking but not seeing. It shows me that we are scrolling but not seeing. It shows me that we are spiritually blind because we're being over-saturated with a whole lot of media and we need a generation to stop the saturation, to stop scrolling, to stop looking and to start seeing what God has called us to see.

We need to start seeing the people that are created in the image of God. Otherwise, we are gonna stay detached from people. Because we have become so digital and we have it in computer games. That's why people can kill each other like they do on computer games and people are so detached and studies have shown that that kind of stuff is connected to what is happening in real life because people can't separate what's happening in a computer-generated image and what's happening in real life. We have to stop looking and have to start seeing. We have to start seeing people that are created in the image of God. We have to start seeing a lost and a broken world that is around us in darkness. If you and I are walking around in darkness, what hope does a lost and a broken world have?

You see, I remember a girl very early on in the days of A21 when I was in Thessaloníki, Greece and there was 14 girls from all different nations. It was the united nations that had been rescued in one of our transition homes. And I remember I was telling the story of what had been happening and how we started and one of the girls, she asked me, she was from Russia, very thick Greek accent. I speak Greek. And so she said to me, I'll never forget it. She said, why did you come? Now she had only been rescued for a couple of days and when oftentimes, when a victim has just been rescued, they've come into a transition home, they don't know if we're traffickers. They don't know if we're just setting them up to, so they're very closed. They're very, of course, they would be. They're self-protecting because they don't know what's about to happen.

And so she said to me, why did you come? Why did you come? And so I began to tell her. And I began to tell her my own story of what Jesus had done in my own life and how Jesus had healed me from abuse and pain and exploitation. And I began to tell her about the love of God, and the grace of God, and the mercy of God, and the goodness of God, and the kindness of God, and that the same God that had brought me such healing and deliverance, he could do such a great work in her life. And I'll never forget this. As I was in the middle of saying all of this, she just yells at me, mid-sentence. She goes, stop, stop, stop it! And she said, if what you are telling me is true, if what you are saying about your God is true, then why didn't you come sooner? And I call that my Schindler's List moment where I just stopped.

Remember that moment in the film, Schindler's List where he took off his ring and he said, this ring, this ring could have been another 20 people. It could have been. When you have this moment of nothing is more important than saving people. Nothing is more important than helping people. When I stand before God and he says, Christine, why didn't you go sooner? Why didn't you go to more people? There were people all around you. What was so important? In that moment, when she said that to me, I started to bawl and I just said to her, I remember. I said, I don't have a good answer right at this moment. I can't think of one thing in my life that was so important to not come and help you and to come and help and rescue you.

I said, look, it's taken me 40 years to come but I promise you this. For the rest of my life, while I still have breath, wherever I go, I will tell people you exist and I will mobilize whoever I can to come and help rescue you and that has been the story of A21 for 10 years, because I went from looking to seeing and the cry of that girl still echoes and resonates in my spirit and gets me up out of bed every single day. If this is true, if what we say about our God is true, the people in your workplaces, the people in your homes, the people in our communities, every one of them are saying to us, the church of Jesus Christ, if what you say about your God is true, then why didn't you come sooner? It's our job to go to a lost and a broken world and see them with the love of Jesus Christ.
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