Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Col. 3:12)

THERE ARE TWO WAYS we can interact with people. One is to see people as objects, things to be used to meet our needs. We do this when we think the waitress exists only to bring us our food. We don’t care if she is dealing with a difficult situation in her personal life. We only care that she does what we want. A robot would serve our needs as well.

The other kind of relationship is to see people as subjects. Other people have needs, feelings, personality. When we see the waitress as a real person we become tolerant if she brings the wrong order, realizing that she, too, is dealing with demands, expectations, and emotions.

When Paul called us to compassion, he was calling us to change from seeing people as interruptions or annoyances or as means to our end, and to start seeing them as individuals. They are fellow human beings who have needs and wants and problems and failures, just as we do.

To walk in step with the Spirit, we have to take off the old way of thinking. Let’s use Paul’s metaphor, which has to do with clothing, only let’s make it eyeglasses. Take off the old glasses, which tend to make everyone look the same. Put on 3-D glasses, which make others appear in all of their dimensions—as individuals created by God and dearly loved.

Stop and look at each person you encounter today.

Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, blogger, and avid cyclist from Fishers, Indiana. He is the author of A Different Kind of Crazy (WPH).