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Years ago, I experienced something that changed my life. It was an event at the Tacoma Dome, south of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. A completely disfigured guy walks onto the stage and up to the microphone. As he began to share his story, you could almost feel the pain he went through when the grenade went off in his hand before he could throw it.

He described what it was like to watch his skin melt off his body and the overwhelming stench of his own flesh. Many years ago, I witnessed a man being burned alive. I’ll never forget the smell, and his screams haunt me still.

He sat down at the piano and said, “I play by ear.” He then removed his fake ear and used it to play a song.

Moments later, a young guy walked out on stage and up to the microphone. He looked like a model. He told his story. As a child, he was passed from home to home. It didn’t take long for the exterior to fade away. I was looking at a young guy who was completely disfigured emotionally.

At the end, the first guy joined the second guy. He put his arm around him and shared that this young guy was his son-in-law.

This moment completely changed me. I’ve never looked at another human being the same way. If you will look past the exterior, you will encounter people in a new and profound way. It’ll be easier to engage and enlarge your heart.