One of the features I notice most often in images of Christ is that He is often looking out of the canvas and straight at us. Now I understand that this is no doubt intended to convey a sense of personal watchfulness in our regard, the sense that the Lord is looking not only at us but out for us. All very consoling.
The thing is, when we are filled with a sense of horror at our personal failures and sinfulness, our abject misery and our complete and utter lack of anything of worth, then the last set of eyes we want gazing at us are those of the Lord. In such moments, it is easy to believe that consolation is being quickly replaced by recrimination. Those tender eyes become little mirrors, accurately reflecting back to us the despondency of our situation.
This may be our personal view of things; but that is not to say that the Lord sees things in a similar way.
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness
We may well be right about the personal state we can find ourselves in, but the Lord knows us – He knows us intimately, better than we know ourselves. Nothing about us is hidden from Him. Reading through the Psalms, we find – over and over again – the sense that the Lord is steadfast in His love toward us, even when we fail Him or abandon Him, when we walk far from Him and when we eventually see the error of our ways. Still, He loves us.
It is said that in His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ saw the sins of all humanity – each and every sin was visible to Him. And yet He continued on in His agony. He did not give up on us. He did not stop. He knew full well that this was precisely the reason why we were in such need of Him and of His sacrifice of His life upon the Cross.
And so, sinners we most certainly are – and sometimes, some of us are the very worst of sinners; yet not one of us is beyond the redemptive power of Christ, whose gentle and tender eyes watch us always with such compassionate love.