“I left that conversation, and I knew exactly what I wanted for the rest of my life – for nothing and for everything. I thought, how unjealous I am of anyone on this planet. All I ever want for myself is the kingdom version of me, the exact thing he is making me.”
This quote is from Wild in the Hollow, an excellent book by Amber Haines. I loved the entire book, but these few sentences stayed with me – loud but inviting.
I started asking the question: What is the Kingdom version of me?
The Kingdom version of us is the same as the Garden version of us: living out our God-designed fullness. Our Garden version is the way we were intended to be at the beginning of time, before sin became reality. The Kingdom version of us is the way we will be in the new Heavens and the new Earth (which, sidenote, I’m convinced will just be Colorado). Our Kingdom version is who we will be when sin is defeated once and for all and we are transformed fully into Christlikeness.
Since Jesus came as the atoning sacrifice for our sin, we are able to experience small hints of this Kingdom on this earth. We no longer have sin and shame keeping us from experiencing and hearing the Lord. He can speak this Kingdom identity over us, and we can walk within it. But brokenness makes this hard. Our Kingdom identity is the fully realized version of us when brokenness no longer has its say.
One of my lovely Life Group friends shared with us this wisdom recently: “I need to still show respect to my husband, even when he is not acting respectable.”
This was the perfect example of Kingdom identity – we need to see people in their Kingdom version and respond to them in that. People may present their brokenness and their sinful selves, but our calling is to see them as the person “He is making them.”
**Now obviously, this doesn’t mean overlooking abuse or any kind of harm they may be causing you – nothing ever gives permission for that.**
But really friends, how often do we respond to sin with sin? Someone hurts us, so we hurt them back. She speaks the unkind words, we spread them with gossip. He ignores our needs, we ignore him altogether.
As I have been asking the Lord about my own Kingdom version, He brought me to these verses in Matthew 6:22-23:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
According to the neat-o footnote in my Bible, the Greek word for “healthy” implies generous. Likewise, the Greek word for “unhealthy” implies stingy.
So here is my thought – when we see people through our eyes, are we viewing them with generosity or stinginess? Are you willing to generously believe in their Kingdom version? Or are you stingy in offering them that grace?
How have you not been viewing people through their Kingdom version?
We’ve all experienced it, when we become cynical and believe the worst about someone – we start to feel that way about ourselves too. If you are stingy in how you see people, “your whole body will be full of darkness.” I’ve sure felt that way.
Example: One of my other birthday goals was to [word for word] “be less judgy about social media.” (You can definitely laugh at that). I get straight up CRANKY about an excess of baby pictures and engagement pictures. Let’s call it what it is, they are being a little braggy (you guys never do this, of course) – but I am also reacting out of a place of jealousy and insecurity.
So my roommate and I were talking about how we sometimes assume people will judge our posts on social media. We realized, maybe it is because we judge people, that we assumed others will judge us? When we are not generous – we assume others won’t be either.
So it stands to reason that if we were to be generous with how we see people, treat people, view people – that maybe we would be more likely to believe others were seeing, treating, and viewing us generously? Let’s be full of LIGHT, people!
Seeing hidden potential in people is something I strive for. This means that when I look at you, I don’t see the mistakes you have made or the unhealthy patterns you are in, I see what you are capable of. This is similar to seeing the Kingdom version of a person. Seeing someone as God has created them – in all their glory. When a friend speaks out of insecurity, I respond to her worth. When a student acts out because of hurt, I respond to how God can heal. When harsh words are spoke, I respond to their forgiven-ness.
Don’t respond to people’s sin – respond to their nature. Respond to the Kingdom coming alive within them. It is there, within each of us, waiting to be called out. Who knows, maybe when we start to do that for each other the Kingdom just might come here on earth, as it is in Heaven.