The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. (Lk. 22:61, NIV)
There is tremendous power in eye contact. By looking deeply into another person’s eyes we can communicate love, disapproval, encouragement, anger, humor, or many other messages. When we are trying to lie or hide something, when we feel ashamed or intimidated, we often will divert our eyes and avoid eye contact all together.
Imagine that you are Peter. A few hours ago, in front of all the other disciples, you boldly promised Jesus that you’d follow Him to the end, even if it meant prison or death. But you weren’t able to keep your promise. In fact you denied even knowing Jesus—three pathetic times. How do you feel?
Now imagine that Jesus, hearing every one of your cowardly denials, turns and looks you straight in the eye. What do you see in His eyes? How does it make you feel? What do you want to do? Is there anything you want to say to Him? Take your time with these questions. Stay with each one for a while.
One of God’s names is El-Roi, “The God who sees me,” (Gen. 16:13, NLT). He really does see us. When we’re doing well, He is the happy Father, cheering us on. When we are not doing so well, even when we have broken His heart, He is still looking for our eyes, wanting to let us know that He loves us and wants to heal and restore us.
Is it easy for you to return Jesus’ gaze of love today? If so, enjoy some time of silent communion with Him, looking into His face and wordlessly responding to His love. Or, if you like, you may want to use words, too, or sing a chorus like “I Want to Know You More” or “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”
If it is hard for you to make eye contact with Jesus, don’t avoid Him completely! Confess to Him whatever you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Ask Him to cleanse and free you from whatever it is. And then, if you can, look into His eyes and see Him look back at you with acceptance, love, and encouragement. Stay there with Him for a while, just resting in His understanding and compassion for you.