Through Jesus’ Eyes

I had been a part of many Bible study groups, but never one for homeless women. What would I say? What should I not say? I turned to God’s Word for help.
Through my church, St. Timothy’s Lutheran in San Jose, I was serving at Village House, a year-long program to help homeless women get back on their feet, get jobs, and find housing. I had learned in our training that homeless people lack trust for many reasons. They may have been attacked or had their belongings stolen. We were told that the women might get upset if they are hugged or even touched on the shoulder. Some had had no eye contact with another person in months! (Think of what a difference you could make in a homeless person’s life if you simply smiled, greeted them, and made eye contact.)

I had helped with hospitality and activities, but now I would take part in a Bible study on God’s redemption. I assumed that the women might be touchy, and I wondered if they would even respond to us.
I asked Jesus to show me how He would see these women. What would He say to them? I opened my Bible. I asked, with what lens did Jesus see the woman who wet His feet with her tears, kissed them, and poured perfume on them (Luke 7:36-50)? Or the Samaritan woman He spoke with at the well (John 4:4-26)? These women were not well respected in society; yet Jesus came alongside each one, met her where she was, and welcomed her with an open mind and heart. He did not look at the outside, but at what was inside, at her heart. Jesus said or did nothing different from the way He would have interacted with you or me.

On the second night of the study, I decided to share my heart and let the women see who I am. After talking about past struggles and how God used each of them in His perfect timing, I felt more connected. I knew the Spirit was moving. To my great surprise, several women opened up and started sharing. After that, I was able to have some deeper conversations when I visited.

On the night I was to teach, a cloud of darkness seemed to hang over the women’s living space. No one wanted to come to Bible study. Should we cancel it? I began to pray. Soon one woman came in and said, “I do not want to do the study, but I need prayer.” She said she was deeply depressed and wanted to pray for the others as well. I opened my Bible to Philippians 4:4-7 and asked her to read it. After each verse, I simply asked her a few questions about what God was saying to her. By the end of verse 7, she was smiling and even laughed out loud—loud enough to draw the attention of a few other women, who then came to Bible study. The Holy Spirit was clearly among us that night.

God’s Word transforms! It gave hope to a deeply burdened woman. But first, it showed me how better to see these women—and the people around me—through Jesus’ eyes.
Debi Zaas is functional leader for the NCM Life & Leadership Coaching initiative. To contact her or learn more about her ministry, click here.