Seeing and Looking – Jeremy Austill

I am an avid sports fan
with very specific rooting interests. My Vol fandom and my allegiance to the
state of Tennessee at large creates a very simplified, refined view of the
sports landscape. I cheer for all things Tennessee Vol, the Titans, the
Grizzlies, the Predators (although I am a newbie at hockey) and I will even
celebrate the Memphis Tigers. I am invested in and focus on my teams and their
interests. While most people in the South are chanting SEC! SEC! SEC! I am
hoping the other SEC teams lose every game they play. If you aren’t Tennessee,
I hope you never win. Period.

Imagine my conundrum on
Monday night as the National Championship game was a contest between Alabama
and Georgia…

Yet watching a game where
you have disdain (is that allowed as a Christian) for both teams allows for a
certain degree of objectivity. As the game unfolded I was a part of a group
text with some people that are die hard Alabama fans and some that hate all
things Alabama football. I also kept an eye on social media. It was
fascinating.

I was able to watch every
play, every call by the referees, every decision, with very little bias. Which
allowed me to watch my friends respond with utter and complete bias. It’s
amazing, every fan base thinks the refs are garbage, the media hates their team
and opposing fans are the worst. I watched as people lamented the happenings on
the field and honestly, how often those biased fans could look at the exact
same thing and see something completely different. Its comical, frustrating for
other people and a little embarrassing when someone allows the lens over their
eyes to be so heavily colored that they can’t see clearly. I learned this year, I am a terrible judge of where my team is in comparison to other teams because
I look at my team with a certain lack of objectivity. I predicted Tennessee
would have a 9-3 record in 2017. They were 4-8. 

What does all of this mean
to our lives?

It’s very important to be
self-aware enough that we can identify our biases. We all (yes, you included)
have a strong tendency to look at situations (like politics) and see what we
want to see…to find what we are looking for. As a believer, every day that I
read the Bible, I approach it with the tendency to look for specific things and
amazingly, I find those things in most everything I read in the Bible.

The problem is, over
time, if we do not identify this tendency, our ideas, thinking and perspective
will continue to narrow. Not only that, but our relationships become strained
because we don’t allow enough room for people to be anything other than what we
are looking for.

If you are looking for
signs of being disrespected…you will find disrespect.

If you are looking for
manipulation…you will find manipulation.

If you are looking for a
lack of loyalty…you will find disloyalty.

If you are looking for a
battle…you will find a battle.

If you are looking for
justification for behavior…you will find justification.

If you are looking for a
reason to be angry…you will find a reason.

These are just a few of the areas where looking and seeing are connected. If you don’t fit on the list above, the odds are high you fit a different list. Notice above, I did not say you WILL be disrespected, manipulated, betrayed, fought or justified. I said you
will find it…you will see what you are looking for. 

In all things, we have a
responsibility to be self-aware enough to identify and be honest about what we
are “looking for” and contend by the help of Holy Spirit that what
we “see” will not be dictated so heavily.

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