Perceptions

Today, as I was wallowing in the steamy warmth of my morning shower, I spent an extended amount of time thinking about perceptions.

Perceptions we have of others.  Perceptions which mold our thinking both positively and negatively.  Perceptions which result in injury or facilitate healing.  Perceptions which are revealed to be true when cast in the light of truth, or are declared false when over-shadowed and exposed by that very same truth.

We base so much of what we believe on our chosen perceptions.  For instance, we categorize and define people simply by observing their facial expressions.  We make a judgment based on a single glance instead of taking the time to know.

Our declared perceptions either free others or enslave them by either rightly receiving their true intentions or choosing to misunderstand their words — knowingly or unknowingly.

We do all of this based on our own interpretation because we only want to use our very own crafted lens with which to perceive.

It made me wonder how much more accurately our faith could be expressed to others if we would choose to use the lens the Father gave to us instead of crafting our own lens.  Certainly, this mindset requires a sacrifice of self and pride, as well as a sacrifice of our preferred perceptions.  But I have a feeling that so much hurt, conflict and error could be avoided if before we spoke — before we perceived, we asked ourselves, “What would God have to say about my perception?”

I surprised myself.  I decided to look (ESV version) to see if I could find the word “perceive” in the Bible.  I really didn’t think it would be there – but it is!  What I found as I studied different instances of the use of this concept was quite interesting.  I won’t analyze it for you here — but you certainly have the ability to do the same thing I just did!

Suffice it to say that sometimes our perceptions are correct.  I would give credit to the Holy Spirit for discernment.  Sometimes, however, man fails to perceive correctly and wrecks havoc on others — and themselves.

No matter what our perceptions may be, we must learn to think before we speak.  Think wisely and intentionally before we act.  It doesn’t mean that we fail to take action is our perceptions are correct and a situation needs addressing or defending.  But there is a time, a place and a season for our reaction.  And always, it should be swaddled in prayer and the truth of God’s Word…..

I think my prayer for all who would read this would be:  “Father, help us to perceive your truth accurately.  In others, help us to perceive clearly before we judge and speak in error, thus possibly wounding those whom You love.   And most of all, Father, help us to perceive you in all of your glory, so that in that all we do, and all that we say and perceive will only be to your glory, and your glory alone.”

My favorite “perception” verse has nothing to do with us – and has everything to do with God.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

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