The more I read after Shane Claiborne, the more he inspires, troubles, challenges and motivates me to rethink just about everything!
Here are quotes from chapter 9 ("Jesus is for losers") of his remarkable The Irresistible Revolution: living as an ordinary radical (pages 264-266, 2006) that speak to the importance of how we "see" other people.
Really important stuff, especially in the city.
When we look through the eyes of Jesus, we see new things in people. In the murderers, we see our own hatred. In the addicts, we see our own addictions. In the saints, we catch glimpses of our own holiness. We can see our own brokenness, our own violence, our own ability to destroy, and we can see our own sacredness, our own capacity to love and forgive. When we realize that we are both wretched and beautiful, we are freed up to see others the same way. . . .
I have on old hippie friend who loves Jesus and smokes a lot of weed, and he's always trying to get under my skin and stir up a debate, especially when I have innocent young Christians visiting with me. (The problem is that he knows the Bible better than most of them do.) One day, he said to me, "Jesus never talked to a prostitute.” I immediately went on the offensive: "Oh, sure he did," and whipped out my sword of the Spirit [Bible] and got ready to spar. Then he just calmly looked me in the eye and said, "Listen, Jesus never talked to a prostitute because he didn't see a prostitute. He just saw a child of God he was madly in love with." I lost the debate that night.
When we have new eyes, we can look into the eyes of those we don't even like and see the One we love. We can see God's image in everyone we encounter. As Henri Nouwen puts it, "In the face of the oppressed I recognize my own face, and in the hands of the oppressor I recognize my own hands. Their flesh is my flesh, their blood is my blood, their pain is my pain, their smile is my smile" (With Open Hands, 1987, page 46). We are made of the same dust. We cry the same tears. No one is beyond redemption. And we are free to imagine a revolution that sets both the oppressed and the oppressors free.