Looking "on the heart"

We can help ourselves and others experience more joy and freedom by seeing the true nature of man.

As a former teacher of small children, I have learned many precious lessons. One of the most valuable came one spring, toward the end of a school year.

I had a little boy in the class whose behavior had been somewhat challenging; constant reminders of what he should be doing and diligent supervision were required. I'm grateful to say that over the course of the school year, improvement had taken place and had been appreciated. But one spring morning I looked over at him, and my heart just seemed to overflow with love for this little fellow. There was nothing special in the activity that he was involved in, but the feeling was there, nonetheless. In I Samuel we are told, "The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (16:7). I felt as though I were looking "on the heart"—appreciating and loving unconditionally this boy's inherent goodness and spirituality as a child of God.

For the last several weeks of school, this new perspective and heartfelt love stayed with me. And I couldn't help noticing the change that took place, not only in my own relationship with the child but also between him and his classmates. I had expressed patience before, but now I treated him with patient understanding. There was a corresponding softening in his attitude; he became calmer and was more willing to listen. Sensing this, his friends in class included him more in their activities. What a change! What a lesson.

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Enriching the soil
August 23, 1993

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