Everybody loved going to Simon’s house. He was a great guy who had lots of friends, and he loved to have them over. He always set a good table, had the best entertainment, and everyone always had a fantastic time. He was the life of the party, told funny jokes, had good stories, and was always the center of attention. And his guest list always included someone special, some celebrity, famous poet, or scholar…someone that everyone would be talking about having met. If you lucky enough to be invited to Simon’s house, you immediately dropped whatever other plans you might have had.
But there was that one party that everyone remembered. It wasn’t the one where he imported the Mediterranean caviar, nor was it the one where the guest of honor was that famous baseball catcher. It was the one where the guest of honor allowed himself to be touched by the lady with the bad reputation. Everyone knew who “he” was, but everyone there knew who “she” was, too. Her behavior was inexcusable. She was crying and just making a spectacle of herself. She cried so hard that her tears began falling on “his” feet. Then the poor thing didn’t have the decency to use a towel to clean up the mess she was making, so she wiped “his” feet with her hair. As if that were not enough, she started kissing “his” feet, almost like she was worshiping “him” or something. Then, in a desperate effort to take aways from her other social blunders, she stunk up the whole house by pouring some really fragrant (and really expensive) oil on “his” feet. Simon was beside himself. Of course it would have added to the embarrassment of the whole situation if he had caused a scene and thrown her out, but he said to himself, “Everybody knows who she is. Everybody knows what she’s done. Surely ‘he’ isn’t who ‘he’ says ‘he’ is, or ‘he’ would not have let her anywhere near ‘him’”.
“He,” however, knew exactly who she was. As a matter of fact, “he” greatly appreciated what she had done, things that Simon, as great a host as he was, apparently never thought of. So “he” said to Simon: “Do you see this woman?”
What a strange question! Of course Simon had seen her. Of course he had watched her having a crying fit right in his house. Of course he had seen her: he could still smell that obnoxious oil. But he hadn’t really seen “her.” All he had seen was what she had done in the past, and how her behavior didn’t come near matching the decorum he had established. But he never saw “her.” He never saw the sorrow and burden of her heart. He never saw “her,” the person, with struggles that were real. He never saw the desire she had to draw close to God. He never saw that she wanted help, needed help, was literally crying for help.
No, Simon had never seen “her” before in his life.