Perception vs Reality
Sometimes in life we will come across a person who lacks perspective. When lies begin to skew our view of the truth, perception becomes reality. What people hear, think, and see becomes reality to them.
Notice how a child views an argument for example. Two adults engaging in conversation at a high volume, neither of them smiling, and gesturing with their hands a great deal. The child would perceive this as an argument or a fight. Even though the adults were in truth discussing a common dislike of something. The child sees the token signs of a disagreement and therefore it becomes true even if it isn’t.
So many things today are perceived and then regarded as fact. Without very much research at all people take stances on all types of topics simply based of their perceptions of this reality. But where is the tact or love in these situations?
Proverbs 12:15 (NLT) Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
I was recently engaged in situations just like this and they shook my confidence. From multiple angles on different occasions I was challenged by the opinions of others based on how they perceive me and my point of view. As a stay-at-home mother and Catholic woman my beliefs and my literal day-to-day functions were called out and disregarded by the time-clock puncher and the nonbeliever simply based on what they see of my life. Since I’m not one to engage in a debate solely based on what can be seen, I tried to find a light. This meant letting them perceive they were right, just to show that not all things they thought to be bad are in truth bad.
Take for instance the Super Bowl win of the New England Patriots last night. As a Miami Dolphins fan I instinctively dislike them as rivals. I perceive them as bad. Every play I saw I would pick apart and perceive the way a rival would. On the flip side, a Patriots fan would see each play as an opportunity to win.
In the end, the better team won and that’s that. No amount of telling myself they cheated or that one referee call was bad can hide the actual truth. Two teams went on that field and played their hearts out and the better team won. Whether I like it or not the Patriots just wanted the win more than the other team and proved that.
As a thoughtful person I have to be able to see past my childlike perception to win and lose the same way. If only in life it were as easy as that. If only every individual could try walking in another’s shoes before they let what’s true and what’s true to them destroy another person's view. My grandfather was a blind man who never saw with his eyes a day in his life. He chose a wife without seeing her, he had four children he never looked upon. He had to base a lot of the things he did on how others told him to perceive it. Yet I had never met a man less blinded and I think that’s because he couldn’t see. Having to judge something solely based on what he could hear and feel or smell gave him a unique perception that I think we could all learn from. Not seeing through the world's eyes gave him the ability to make judgments based on his heart. He would listen and he would hear. He would eat and he would taste.
Jesus stood next to a woman whom had been perceived as an adulteress, a sinner, and he saw salvation. He bravely addressed an angry mob and proclaimed “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And just like that their perception changed.
John 8:10-12 (NKJV) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
So go and sin no more. Walk a mile or even a minute in the soles of another soul before you pass hard judgments. Remember that at the root of it all should be great love and compassion for every human even if we don’t perceive their reality.
Be safe. Be great. Be YOU!
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. What would be an example from your own life where you have disagreed with someone but were able to meet them in love and compassion to find common ground?
Q2. What are some examples in history of people with different ideologies who were able to reach reconciliation?
Q3. What can you do today to reach out in love to someone in your own sphere of influence who perceives things differently than you so that real communication can begin?