As we grow closer to God, we learn to see other people differently.
When Samuel met with Jesse in the small town of Bethlehem, he brought his own preconceptions and biases to the task of selecting a new king. The current king, which he had also selected, was tall and strong. He stood out in a crowd. (See 1 Samuel 9:2, 1 Samuel 10:23.) So Samuel naturally but inaccurately believed that the next king would be similarly impressive-looking.
Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab, looked the part. When Samuel saw him, he thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before [me]” (1 Samuel 16:6). But such was not the case, and God taught Samuel an important lesson at that moment:
Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.1 Samuel 16:7
President Henry B. Eyring had a similar experience when he was serving as a bishop. He met with a young man who had made some very foolish decisions. “As I sat looking at him,” President Eyring related, “I heard a voice in my mind say…’I’m going to let you see him as I see him.’ And then, for a brief moment, his whole appearance changed to me. I saw not a dazed young man but a bright, noble son of God. I suddenly felt the Lord’s love for him. That vision changed our conversation. It also changed me” (“Walk with Me,” General Conference, April 2017).
When Jesus Christ visited the American continent following His death and resurrection, He modeled for church members how He wanted them to see others and treat others. He invited each person to come forward and feel the wounds in His resurrected body, one by one (3 Nephi 11:13-15). He subsequently said:
Ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not…
Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do….
And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world.3 Nephi 18:22-25
Elder Kim B. Clark explained:
As we see as Jesus sees, He blesses us to love those we serve with His love. With His help, those we serve will see the Savior and feel His love.
This is the promise and the charge the Savior gave the people at the temple at Bountiful. He commanded them to so live that His light and His example would be in them, so that they could hold Him up as the light to the world in their lives and in their invitations to others to come unto Him. As His followers so lived and so invited, others would feel Him and see Him in the Lord’s servants.“Look unto Jesus Christ,” General Conference April 2019 (second paragraph from footnote 36)
Today, I will strive to see others as God sees them. I will remember that a person’s outward appearance may not be indicative of their true selves. I will strive to overcome my preconceptions and learn to love others the way Jesus loves them.