Source: Wikipedia

“…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel16:7

How beautiful are the above words, and how many times have I called upon them for comfort!

Yet the same words are also a conviction and a challenge.

I can’t recall when, but at some point I memorized that verse. It first spoke to me at a time when I took great comfort in the idea that God sees my heart and knows me, when I felt that others did not.

I love the story behind these verses, as God chooses a leader based on a person’s character, not according to the rules of the world or who is expected as a leader. How often has God done this in scripture! He’s taken the least, the unexpected, the smallest, the most humble, and used the “least of these” to carry out his plan.


These words comfort me because I am known by God. He sees my heart. There is someone who knows me, understands me, knows the truth of my heart and my intentions. Especially during times of trouble, misunderstanding, or loneliness, there is One who knows and can relate. God has walked the same roads on earth that I walk and understands my circumstances.


It convicts me, for the very same reason– because he knows me. I cannot hide from God. He sees the truth, the good, the bad and the ugly. If I am trying to hide something, he sees it. If I am lying, he knows it. If I am tempted to do or say something I shouldn’t, He is watching. I can try to escape like Jonah, but even the bottom of the sea isn’t far enough, and a healthy fear comes over me.


Finally, these words challenge me. I am challenged to see the way God sees– to look at the heart of the other person. God sees with compassion and eyes of love. He has the perfect blend of mercy and justice. His vision is perfect. His focus is sharp, spot on.

It’s not easy to see as God does. We humans will see blurry, clouded by selfishness, pride, hurt, etc., but not God. He sees perfectly well, all the time. His perspective is trustworthy, “clouded” rather in his own righteousness, holiness, glory. We can trust his view.

Who can see as clearly as God, with eyes that never sleep? With eyes of mercy and compassion? With eyes of love? With eyes that know, that go past the exterior to see the heart, the intentions and motives of a person?

Yet, we are called to love and to are also called to see like this. We are not called to be conformed to the ways of the world, that look upon the outward appearance, and are driven by selfish motives, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).

I’m unspeakably thankful that God is not this way… His ways and thoughts are higher than man’s. He is holy, pure, just… and his love doesn’t fluctuate. His friendship isn’t fickle. He is steadfast, true. He knows our motives. He’ll never need a pair of glasses.

If it’s happened to you….

Perhaps you have been misunderstood by someone. Perhaps those around you don’t see your heart. Perhaps you are in a desert season of loneliness. Take comfort that God knows you, that He knows the truth. He sees your heart and is always with you.

Perhaps you have done something that you shouldn’t have and gotten away with it. Perhaps you are planning to do something you shouldn’t do. Be careful. God knows. He sees your heart. Walk away from wrongdoing.

Perhaps you’ve been touched by the grace of God, experienced his compassion, his forgiveness in your life, and now you feel the nudge to offer that kind of grace to someone else. Do you see someone that is neglected by others? Perhaps it is time to see that person as God sees. Is there an enemy who is hurting you? Perhaps it is time to see that person as God sees him or her. 

Seeing a person the way God sees him or her doesn’t necessarily change that person or his or her ways {leave that in in God’s hands}… although praying for and loving our enemies is certainly powerful and people can and do change through prayer.

But, perhaps the greatest change happens within the self. Loving others changes me.  I can’t expect the world to change because of me, but if I am changed, I can change the world I see in front of me. It glorifies God when I love, especially the unlovable, the enemy, the one who has hurt me. God is about this kind of work in our lives, to make us like him. It is how Jesus loves, when he gave up his breath and dignity and life for us when we did not deserve it… “while we were yet sinners…”

I write these words not because I have it all figured out, I write them because I need them as much as everyone else does. These are lessons that keep happening in life. There may not just be one difficult person in our lives. We may have many, across a span of many years, and God will use it for His glory, because God loves us that much. He doesn’t want us to stay in our state, He wants to keep fashioning us into His likeness.

Perhaps it is time to ask for eyes like His.

Below is an old classic from Amy Grant, “Father’s Eyes”:



Joining sweet friends today:

Laura at the Wellspring

Jen at Finding Heaven

KD Sullivan at Painting Prose