Regard no one according to the flesh? What????Such a challenging concept for us to live out this life while in the flesh, the mortal bodies which tend towards judgements according to the things we see with our eyes and our ears and even those things we take in through our minds. To be controlled only by the love of Christ and His regard for each person as He sees them, as His ambassadors, reconciling all people to Jesus and then treating them as He does, according to the spirit and not according to the principles of the world.
Paul lays it out in 2 Corinthians 5:15-21
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creationThe old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Yet, often we DO keep regarding people according to the flesh. We look at the skin, the arrangement of the hair, the style a person owns or doesn’t or specific talents a person may possess or skills they have developed and we group ourselves with them or compare ourselves to them according to the principles of the world. Humans often do not judge with righteous judgement but rather with fleshly concepts. We categorize people into groups, we define with words that compliment or degrade. Even when we are trying to be gracious and even-handed our own preferences and words often give away our perceptions and judgements of others. We value one person over another based on externals.
One of my favorite books is “You are Special” by Max Lucado as it so clearly lays out how God looks at each person He created with Hid heart of love for the Uniqueness He placed internally in each one.
Here is a summary of the books beautiful message:
You Are Special
by Max Lucado
“The Wemmicks were small wooden people. Each of the wooden people was carved by a woodworker named Eli. His workshop sat on a hill overlooking their village. Every Wemmick was different. Some had big noses, others had large eyes. Some were tall and others were short. Some wore hats, others wore coats. But all were made by the same carver and all lived in the village. And all day, every day, the Wemmicks did the same thing: They gave each other stickers. Each Wemmick had a box of golden star stickers and a box of gray dot stickers. Up and down the streets all over the city, people could be seen sticking stars or dots on one another.
The pretty ones, those with smooth wood and fine paint, always got stars. But if the wood was rough or the paint chipped, the Wemmicks gave dots. The talented ones got stars, too. Some could lift big sticks high above their heads or jump over tall boxes. Still others knew big words or could sing very pretty songs. Everyone gave them stars.
Some Wemmicks had stars all over them! Every time they got a star it made them feel so good that they did something else and got another star. Others, though, could do little. They got dots.
Punchinello was one of these. He tried to jump high like the others, but he always fell. And when he fell, the others would gather around and give him dots.
Sometimes when he fell, it would scar his wood, so the people would give him more dots. He would try to explain why he fell and say something silly, and the Wemmicks would give him more dots. After a while he had so many dots that he didn’t want to go outside. He was afraid he would do something dumb such as forget his hat or step in the water, and then people would give him another dot. In fact, he had so many gray dots that some people would come up and give him one without reason. “He deserves lots of dots,” the wooden people would agree with one another. “He’s not a good wooden person.”
After a while Punchinello believed them. “I’m not a good Wemmick,” he would say. The few times he went outside, he hung around other Wemmicks who had a lot of dots. He felt better around them.
One day he met a Wemmick who was unlike any he’d ever met. She had no dots or stars. She was just wooden. Her name was Lucia. It wasn’t that people didn’t try to give her stickers; it’s just that the stickers didn’t stick. Some admired Lucia for having no dots, so they would run up and give her a star. But it would fall off. Some would look down on her for having no stars, so they would give her a dot. But it wouldn’t stay either. ‘That’s the way I want to be,’thought Punchinello. ‘I don’t want anyone’s marks.’ So he asked the stickerless Wemmick how she did it. “It’s easy,” Lucia replied. “every day I go see Eli.”
“Eli?” “Yes, Eli. The woodcarver. I sit in the workshop with him.” “Why?” “Why don’t you find out for yourself? Go up the hill. He’s there.”
And with that the Wemmick with no marks turned and skipped away. “But he won’t want to see me!” Punchinello cried out. Lucia didn’t hear. So Punchinello went home. He sat near a window and watched the wooden people as they scurried around giving each other stars and dots. “It’s not right,” he muttered to himself. And he resolved to go see Eli. He walked up the narrow path to the top of the hill and stepped into the big shop. His wooden eyes widened at the size of everything. The stool was as tall as he was. He had to stretch on his tiptoes to see the top of the workbench. A hammer was as long as his arm. Punchinello swallowed hard. “I’m not staying here!” and he turned to leave. Then he heard his name.
“Punchinello?” The voice was deep and strong. Punchinello stopped. “Punchinello! How good to see you. Come and let me have a look at you.” Punchinello turned slowly and looked at the large bearded craftsman. “You know my name?” the little Wemmick asked.
“Of course I do. I made you.” Eli stooped down and picked him up and set him on the bench. “Hmm,” the maker spoke thoughtfully as he inspected the gray circles. “Looks like you’ve been given some bad marks.” “I didn’t mean to, Eli. I really tried hard.” “Oh, you don’t have to defend yourself to me, child. I don’t care what the other Wemmicks think.” “You don’t?”
No, and you shouldn’t either. Who are they to give stars or dots?They’re Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn’t matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special.”Punchinello laughed. “Me, special? Why? I can’t walk fast. I can’t jump. My paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?”
Eli looked at Punchinello, put his hands on those small wooden shoulders, and spoke very slowly. “Because you’re mine. That’s why you matter to me.”Punchinello had never had anyone look at him like this–much less his maker. He didn’t know what to say.”Every day I’ve been hoping you’d come,” Eli explained.”I came because I met someone who had no marks.””I know. She told me about you.”“Why don’t the stickers stay on her?””Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them.”
“What?””The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers.””I’m not sure I understand.””You will, but it will take time. You’ve got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.” Eli lifted Punchinello off the bench and set him on the ground. “Remember,” Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door. “You are special because I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.”
Punchinello didn’t stop, but in his heart he thought, “I think he really means it.”And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.
May all your dots fall silently to the ground, for if given by man, they matter only to other men, if given by the Gods, no one questions, the scars that make up our lives. (when given the choice, pass out stars, drop the dots in the trash.) “
– Max Lucado
I pray this for you, I pray this for me.. For myself I wish for clearer eyes to see, like He sees.Sherry