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The Scary Business of Being Seen

Have you ever considered how much power people’s eyes have?

Seeing is powerful. You’ve probably felt this intuitively at some point in your life when…

  • You wanted someone to look your way, and they did. Or they didn’t.
  • You said or did something embarrassing and wished you were invisible.
  • Everyone else on Zoom had their camera off, so you turned yours off, too.
  • You felt truly seen by a friend or loved one. Or unseen.

Before sin, Adam could look on Eve’s naked frame and she felt no shame and nothing to hide, and vice versa. This wasn’t just about having a “good body” the way we think of it. In our day, when someone says another person has a good body, what they often mean is, “I find that person’s body attractive.”

When Adam and Eve looked upon each other, it was much more than that. Their bodies were good in the truest, fullest sense of the word. Good like clean air is good. Good like a ripe piece of fruit is good. Good like a baby in her mother’s arms is good. As the first man and woman looked upon each other, there was no corruption, no evil intent, no disease, no shame, no unholy desire, no trauma, no addiction residing anywhere in their bodies. Their bodies were filled to overflowing with God’s breath of life, and so their bodies were very good. From the tops of their heads to the souls of their feet, their bodies were full of goodness.

So as Adam looked at Eve, she was safe, honored, and even blessed by his gaze. This was true not only because she was very good, but because he was too. She need not doubt his inner thoughts or intentions, she need not fear his eyes anywhere upon her. His eyes were very good. The same was true as Eve looked at Adam.

We all feel the longing to see and be seen in this way, but in a fallen world, we know that others’ eyes compare us and evaluate us. We look in the mirror and do the same thing. We know others’ eyes are prone to judgment, loathing, lusting, using, and consuming one another. Even on our best days, we know if any eye looks closely enough, they will be able to find fault.

And so we hide from each other like Adam and Eve did after their sin.

We pose, posture, and pretend. We draw attention to our strengths to divert eyes from our weaknesses. We wear makeup and new clothes and cars and smiles and jobs and kids and ministry and sacrifice and likes and follows as fig leaves to try to cover our shame from others and ourselves. (I would guess that much of the fitness industry is actually driven by people hoping pounds lost or muscle mass gained will clothe them adequately.)

And shamefully, we do the same thing to others. Our eyes judge, loathe, lust, and consume too. Jesus told us the eye is the lamp of the body and when it’s good our whole body is filled with light (Mt. 6:22). How we long for this to be always true of us.

How can we heal?

By standing before the eyes of Jesus. We bring ourselves before the eyes described by John the Seer as “like a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14). There is no hiding before Him, and only one way to stand (or kneel, or fall) in His presence: Exposed.

There, we seek to behold Him and to be beheld by Him, the One who sees our naked selves, inside and out, all we’ve ever done, all we are, all we will ever be. What a fearful thought! But where else can we go?

In mercy, He speaks, “Fear not…” (Revelation 1:17).

Brothers and sisters, I do not claim to be good at abiding before the eyes of God, but when I do, it is very good. Because He does not look with comparison, lust, or loathing. He looks upon our naked selves with love.

I am sick with how poorly my eyes see. And I am sick with fears of how I might be seen. If anyone can be trusted with seeing me and helping me to see, it is Christ.

Lord, here am I. Look on me. I trust You with what you see. I trust you to open my eyes to see others with love like You do.

Question: What stands out to you in this post? Where can you relate?

For you,

Josh

3 thoughts on “The Scary Business of Being Seen”

  1. Great post, Josh. I’ve been experiencing healthy conviction to redouble my efforts to “live a life worthy”. Thank you for your faithful obedience and Godly insights.

    -dc

  2. Wow! Great topic of being seen! I can certainly relate.The desire just to be seen and accepted by those you love. Thanks for the reminder that Jesus sees me as I am and will be without condemnation.Great reminder thanks again..

  3. Excellent post. The posts and podcasts on “consuming” others by looking at them as objects have been a great help to me in reducing such behavior. I am a bit over 11 years clean from online porn, but have had a struggle with seeing women as people first, and this post, and others, have been a help in dealing with that.

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