How to Change Your Focus to Help Others

Lives aren't always as trouble-free as they first appear. Here's how you can help.

Posted in , Jan 12, 2016

What at first appears to be truth often turns out not to be the case. Someone may be in need and you don't realize it.

Have you ever seen photos that left you in awe? That happened to me recently when I saw some that my friend Kyle Saylors posted on Facebook.

Kyle and his brother, Kenny, are filmmakers with huge hearts for God. Their most recent trip took them and their cameras to six countries across Africa and the Middle East. Their adventure for God led them to refugees, orphans, preachers, missionaries and others who left permanent marks on their hearts.

They spent some time on safari, and that’s where the oh-so-cool photos of cheetahs, rhinos, hippos and giraffes came about. I felt as if I were traveling through National Geographic with them as they captured the beauty of God’s creation.

All of the pictures were amazing, but when Kyle posted the photo of three zebras joyously running into the bush on a gorgeous day, there was something mesmerizing about it.

Later that day when I scrolled through the comments below the picture, I noticed where Kyle had posted a second photo of the zebras with this text, “This is a second later, when you see the wildebeests in the background. What you didn’t see changes how you see [the picture].”

Wow, he was exactly right. What I’d thought were three zebras out for a fun run changed completely when I saw that they were actually in danger and running for their lives.

And that’s when God whispered, “Life is just like those photos. You look at others and see what you think is the perfect life, but you don’t look deep enough to see what’s beyond the surface.”

Friends, have you ever done that? Looked at other people and thought their lives were perfect? I’ve been guilty of that.

I had a friend whose family was quite wealthy. They had a housekeeper, gardener, cook and even a massage therapist who came to their house. They traveled extensively on exotic trips around the world. You’d recognize the names of many of their friends –CEOs of Fortune 500 companies with huge bank accounts, power and prestige.

Far different from my life.

But then, her husband had to have surgery. As I’ve done many times with friends, I sat with her at the hospital during the procedure. With tears in her eyes she said, “Nobody’s ever done anything like this for me before.”

I was so sad to realize that simple kindness was such a rarity in her life. Just like with the first zebra photo, I’d looked and seen one thing when there was so much more to the big picture.

And that was God’s reminder to me through these photos. Take time to look beyond the surface. Extend grace when folks are difficult. Give love when someone doesn’t seem to deserve it. Be generous even when it seems to you like people don't need your generosity. Pray for people, because one never knows what scars, fears or tough situations are chasing them through life.

Do you need to look beyond a snapshot of someone's life to love them today?

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