From a student's letter in Henri Nouwen's, Intimacy:
To hold a hand and mean it, to appreciate beauty, to experience a relationship, a joy, a satisfaction, a sadness, a desperation, an exhaustion. To feel close to an idea, an ideal, and to ourselves. To feel part of a country, a person and the earth. To rise out of the depths of desperation and self-made alienation, and to be close once again to you. These are what we can grasp, these are real. These are experiences. That is our prayer, Lord. To be aware, to rise up, to realize, to understand and to care."
When I pray for others merely because I think they need to better themselves but not because they are made in the image of God and therefore are as loved by God as I am, does that not indicate self-centeredness? There's me and God and then all those other people. No. All those other people are God's people. Loved no more and no less. Why then do I lose sight of this? Again, because I am loving people here on earth for all the wrong reasons. I am loving them for how they can impact my life. That is not true love. And so the vicious circle of disappointment and then disconnection. And ultimately then bitterness. Because it is a false illusion to believe that I can tear myself away from others with no consequence to my relationship with Christ.
Lord, allow me to see people through Your eyes. My eyes are blinded by self. God, help me to enter reality and understand than dependence on you does not separate me from an obligation to give to others the gift of myself, and most importantly the gift which you have given me of unconditional love.