“Home Improvement,” the T.V. show starring Tim Allen, was a family favorite of ours in the 90s. And it’s the closest I get to actual home improvement. “The Look” is the name of an episode in the series. The premise is that women have found a way to make the men in their lives melt in fear with a “look.”
Tim gets the “the look” from his wife, Jill, after spending $4000 on Piston season tickets.
Wilson, the behind the fence philosopher, explains that “the look” has been around for centuries and believed to have been the reason women wear veils at their wedding. “The penetrating stare of a bride could weaken her husband and render him impotent!” Yikes!
There is power in “the look.”
God looks at us.
What is God’s “look?”
In my mind I’m singing the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song, “The Look of Love.”
Don’t know it? Take a listen:
In my youth, it was Dusty Springfield.
Today it is Diana Krall.
“The look of love is in your eyes” is how the song starts.
So, what is God’s look toward us? What does God’s look look like?
Is it a “Home Improvement” or a Bacharach look?
Too many of us in church world have been told that God’s look toward us is a look of anger, judgment, disappointment. Maybe that’s why we don’t want God to look at us. We’ve been told God doesn’t like what he sees. Have we been misinformed?
When Jesus looked at the “rich young ruler,” the writer says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him” (Mark 10:21). I like that.
“Let me look at you,” a loving relative says to a child. Do you hear, in the phrase, encouragement, love, acceptance, pride?
When God says, “Here’s looking at you, kid” it is a look of love.
“You look marvelous,” says Fernando Lama – the Billy Crystal character.
The writer to the Hebrews describes God’s throne (kingdom language) as a “throne of mercy/grace” – not a throne of judgment and punishment and lectures.
How we think God looks at us shapes how we look at the world. Mark Matousek writes in Psychology Today that, “You learn the world from your mother’s face…The mother’s gaze, or the father’s (if he is the primary caretaker), determines more than you might realize about how you come to see yourself, your place in the world, and the moral nature of people around you.”
Does a mean look create mean people?
Does a kind look create kind people?
How we think God looks at us shapes how we look at ourselves, others and our world.
In his book, The Church of Mercy, Pope Francis asks, “Do you let yourself be looked at by the Lord?” He continues, “God looks at us, and this is itself a way of praying.”
I don’t think I’ve done that enough through my life. Praying, for me has been, telling, listing, begging – but not sitting and looking and being looked at.
“The Look”. God’s giving it to us. It is the Look of Love. See it. Reflect it.