“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! Matthew 6:22-23
This is an interesting passage of the Bible which deals with the eyes. It discusses, I think, the importance, both physically and metaphorically, of how we use our eyes. In the earlier passage, Jesus had discussed the ways that we look at wealth. Is wealth our primary focus, or is our primary focus how we treat other people?
I just heard a podcast about the learning abilities of wolves and dogs. It seems that both wolves and dogs rely heavily on the eye contact of the trainer to learn. The experiment they did involved how well both wolves and dogs learned cues about how to find food. (The wolves won, by the way) The point again drove home the fact to me that eye contact is extremely important in human relationships. Holding good eye contact for communication is an important tool in learning solid communication. We read a tremendous amount into non-verbal communication, like eye contact, to determine warmth and the credibility of other people.
As a counselor, I really like to make as much eye contact as is comfortable with my clients. (Virtual counseling has been a challenge in this new environment, but that is the subject for another day.) I read a lot into eye contact. I look at when people give it, and when they withdraw it. We can tell if someone is “with us” by virtue of the eye contact and other non-verbal cues we get from them.
Jesus in this Matthew account, states that our eyes are the “lamp of the body”. What he meant was that, we read intent and virtue into how we meet other peoples’ eyes. The old saying “the eyes are the window into the soul” likely came from this Bible verse. Indeed, as humans, we rely on cues such as eye contact to validate what we hear. If there is a disconnect between what we hear, and the non-verbals that we see, like eye contact, we will likely rely upon the eye contact as the cue we believe.
I will have more to say on this subject in future blogs. In the meantime, consider how much you value eye contact to determine the sincerity of the person to whom you are talking. We humans require complex mechanisms to communicate, but then again, so do dogs and wolves.
It seems like eyes are indeed the “lamp of the body”.
Prayer: Father, give us eyes to see the important things in life, Amen.