O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions.
Bobbie Burns, the Bard of Scotland, without realizing it, was referring to the Holy Spirit and the gift of wisdom when he penned these famous lines. The Spirit is indeed the power that teaches us (John 16:13) and it is the gift of wisdom that not only enables us to see ourselves as others see us but to see ourselves as God sees us.
Indeed, it is the gift of the divine perspective, the ability to see not only ourselves, but the world as God sees it, to see God’s goodness, and love in the midst of chaos, to see beauty where others see ugliness and repulsion. But wisdom is not infused, rather it inspires the manner in which we apply the knowledge and experience we possess. We must seek the knowledge needed to apply the gift. “Without knowledge wisdom is missing.”(Sir. 3:24)
When wisdom enables us to see ourselves as God sees us, it strips away the self-deception and self righteousness that blinds us to our true selves. It confronts us with the naked reality of who we are, and challenges us to become true disciples and imitators of Jesus.
Seeing others through the eyes of God means discarding the prism of self-interest through which we see what we want to see. It rips off our mask and the masks of others, it lays bare our prejudices and stereotypes and reveals the struggling humanity we all share.
Beyond seeing with the eyes of God, wisdom enables us to “see” with the heart of God, to live with compassion and empathy rather than condemnation and censure.
Wisdom is a foundational gift that facilitates and works in concert with the other Gifts of the Spirit: understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.
Wisdom is the result of an intimate relationship with God. It comes to us from God and draws us back to Him.
“Who can know your counsel, unless you give Wisdom
and send your Holy Spirit from on high?
Thus were the paths of those on earth made straight,
and people learned what pleases you,
and were saved by Wisdom.