I know that there are those among you, especially educators, who are cringing at the syntactical errors in the title—What You Lookin’ At! However, just for a moment let’s look beyond the grammatically incorrect phrase and see if we can find truth.
Growing up in the streets of Philly, it wasn’t important to correct the grammar of someone using this phrase. There were only one of two ways you could reply to someone who said to you, “What You Lookin’ At?” One—you either averted their eyes and looked the other way—or you were big and bad enough to stare back and say something like, “I’m lookin’ at you—is there a problem?” Surely, you had to have enough courage to pull the second reply off! If you’re curious about which road I took when presented with the question— I digress and plead the 5th Amendment that protects me from self-incrimination!
This common childhood phrase came to my mind the other day as I noticed someone staring at me and it caused me to take a little introspection. Exactly WHAT were they looking at? No, I’m not talking about whether or not they noticed my designer clothes or my latest hairstyle. What do others see when they see us? Do we mirror the image of God, our Father, or is there too much of us and our fleshly habits on exhibit- so much so that the light of the Jesus within us doesn’t shine anymore, but flickers like a candle being blown by the wind? When they see us do they see our issues? Can they tell that we are bitter, angry, or self-absorbed?
Let’s take it a step further. When you look in the mirror “what you lookin’ at?” Are your eyes the kind of eyes that see the pain and struggles of others and seek to assist in any way you can? Or are they the kind of eyes that seek out the flaws of others and make it a point to let everyone else know? Is your nose the kind of nose that sniffs out opportunities to minister and pray for others or is it the kind of nose that smells the troubles of others and relishes in it? Are your ears the kind of ears that hear bad news and immediately begin to pray for all parties involved or are your ears the kind of ears that itch constantly for gossip and backbiting and the opportunity to spread what you hear? Are your lips the kind of lips that are slow to speak hastily, that speak kind words to others and exalt God through prayer and praise or are your lips the kind of lips that flap constantly with nothing worthwhile to say?
What you lookin’ at? The next time you look in the mirror to check to see how you look—check yourself even more by examining how you appear to yourself and to others! Don’t back down! Stare yourself right in the face and reply “I’m lookin’ at you…..is there a problem? If there is, God is such an awesome and magnificent God—He will help you with your profile….if you let Him!