Learning to be a Christ-follower is about learning a new way to live. Learning a new way to live requires learning a new way to navigate life. Learning a new way to navigate life requires learning a new way to see the path in front of you.
I call this reframing.
Jesus taught his followers the principle of reframing in the Sermon on the Mount. Here are a few examples:
- Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).
- You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell (Matthew 5:21-22).
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also (Matthew 5:38-39).
- If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? (Matthew 5:46).
Jesus took the opportunities and obstacles his followers were bound to encounter and reframed them. He told them to rejoice in the face of persecution — that’s not the normal frame through which we view opposition. It’s only natural to love those who love us. It’s unnatural to love your enemy. That requires reframing how you see people.
We reframe a circumstance when we choose to see the possible when everything about a situation screams impossible.
We reframe a relationship when we choose to see an annoying person as a child of God rather than as an annoying person.
We reframe a challenge when we ask “Why” as opposed to “Why me?”
Is God asking you to reframe something?