by Bernadette A. Moyer
Several years ago I had a colleague share with me that his choice was to “see the face of God in people” a powerful statement I thought way back then and I still think so today.
How often the way we view someone determines how they become to us. I am reminded of my first supervisor when I was in my mid-twenties and selling real estate she saw the best in me. She had such a high opinion of you that you never wanted to let her down. She inspired me to be the best I could be and as a result, even though I was the youngest agent in my office I was consistently in the top 25% of salespeople. I did well under her direction. She became a friend, a mentor and like another mother to me.
My next supervisor was just as positive and he encouraged calculated risk. If you made an error on the job he applauded the effort and created teaching opportunities from the experience. This guy was the most educated and always saw potential in people, he knew how to manage both strengths and weakness. He lifted me up and taught me so many valuable skills. He is a true visionary and knows how to bring out the best in all people, places and events. He has made significant and positive life changes for his family, his peers and in his community. Although I couldn’t tell you his religious beliefs, I witnessed his actions and his ability to ”see the face of God in people.”
My last supervisor was my worst professional experience to date. He was viewed by many as both arrogant and ignorant. His inner circle, his own team seldom if ever corrected him and yet they openly acknowledged his false assumptions. I never felt valued by him and since I was acquired rather than hired by him it was a losing battle. There was never a person I introduced him to that had something nice to say about him and most commented on the “ick” they felt by his presence. Within months of his arrival I brushed off my resume and secured letters of recommendation. I knew our time together was limited.
It is my natural inclination to trust and to see the best in people. I believe that God lives in most people and that if and when we can see the “face of God in people” we help to bring that out in them. I believe we can also create the reverse if we want to demonize a person and choose to see them as evil then we create that reality too. If perception is reality for most of us then how we perceive another person becomes our own reality.
Most people say, “life is short” but my husband often says, “life is long.” I think he is right, life can be long and full of all kinds of joy, sorrow, loss and gain.
My family of orgin was a critical one with an opinion about everyone and everything. I look back and see how unhealthy that was to grow up in. If you weren’t like them you weren’t embraced by them. I witnessed this same kind of judgement in organized religions and political groups. If you oppose their views then somehow you are less to them. If you have to make another person look bad, tear them down and if you have to make them out to be evil and the devil, what does that say about you?
It is my belief that when you are speaking ill of another it has much more to do with you and how you feel about yourself than it does about the person you are speaking poorly about. Granted not all people are good, some truly are evil. Some people come into your life for a period of time and then their time is up. Most often we can reflect on the teachings of all our relationships, both the ones that stay with us and the ones that end.
Love and hate are both a choice, we decide how we view ourselves, the people in our lives and in our world. Perhaps if we saw “the face of God in people” this would become our perception, our reality and our world.