Ever see something that made you think something was going on, very definite idea about what was happening and then, when seeing the broader picture you realize you were wrong? Perspective is a funny thing. From one angle things seem one way, then when you see from a different angle it looks to be something completely different. Sometimes that is because one is only able to consider part of the information, they have a limited scope of vision because of a variety of things, so they have one opinion, that may or may not change, based on what else they find out later. Politicians and news reporters know this and use it to try to put what they call spin on the information they present. They try to get people to develop a bias to think one way, then provide information in ways to use that bias to sway the public to support their campaigns or read their newspapers.
But, perspective is a funny thing, not just how much or how little you see, the way you see things can cause one’s opinion to vary, perhaps, like in the cartoon below, neither is wrong, or at least not from their own perspective. Sometimes, we need to try to see things from another’s view point. Rather than jump to conclusions that they are wrong, maybe we need to try to understand that person better rather than have an absolute opinion.
So many times, there are more factors to consider, sometimes we take sides on a topic because of our own perspective that comes from life experiences and what information we are given. Humans are that way. Unfortunately, many times we form opinions, develop thoughts on something, due to those perspectives. There have been times that for whatever reason, my opinion on someone’s behavior was based on minimal information, so my perspective was incomplete and caused how I perceived things them and what they did and said in one way, that I later found to be inaccurate. One time, I met my cousin’s husband for the first time when they were visiting in the area. I don’t have a reason for it, but something I didn’t like about him. I had never heard bad about him, never talked to him before, but something about him I found grating and as we greeted and spoke, I just took him as arrogant and pompous. Anything he did or said, I looked at harshly. He had never done anything to me, I had no reason for it, but how he spoke, was dressed, whatever, I just didn’t think much of him. We had a congenial conversation and I had a nice visit with my cousin, but with him, it was a necessary evil to deal with him to be able to visit with her. Okay, now fast forward a couple years. We were making plans to visit the area for a family reunion and she offered to let us stay with them. OK, cheaper than hotel, and I could always just avoid him if he irritated me again but I was willing to give him a second chance and see. Well, we get there, and he was a great guy. From when they greeted us, the entire time we were there and in other times we have seen each other after that. To be honest, I don’t believe he had changed and I also did not think I had changed. Maybe I was having a bad day when I first met him and was taking things wrong. Maybe he was tired from traveling and such so he was acting a little different than he normally would the first time we met. I suspect more my attitude than anything else. Again, I don’t know why I developed that opinion, I had to travel to Texas for a couple weeks the next day, so maybe stressing on that some, maybe tired, maybe a lot of things. But, for whatever reason my perspective was not based on full information and instead was from whatever mindset I had at the time. I really like the guy and am glad I was willing to give him (ok, actually, in the long run it was giving myself) a second chance. Maybe, I needed to stop trying to judge, not scrutinize what someone does or says with only limited understanding. Sometimes, nothing wrong with what we say or do, but the way it is perceived is based on the mindset of the perceiver, not the other person. Like with him, I had made a decision, and because of that, nothing he could say or do the first time we met could change it. I feel bad that I was that way, that because of what problems with my perspective I did not think well of him, I did him and myself, a huge disservice because of my perspective.
Honestly, I doubt that I have ever had the full perspective on anything. I have tried to consider a lot of factors before forming opinions, sometimes though, I don’t, other times, I don’t consider enough factors, try to get a wide enough view, get all the data I need before using limited perspective to make decisions.
Funny thing is, at work, I look at as many things as possible before making decisions on diagnosis, treatment and such. But, in regular life, sometimes I don’t. And, out of all those I have done a disservice to by doing such, the biggest disservice is God, because I had the wrong mindset, I also do a disservice to myself, because of the way I have perceived things inaccurately. I say inaccurately, because wrong and right have distinct connotations, and, sometimes, I am not completely wrong, but definitely not completely right. I posted before about being judgmental at times, yeah, these examples are times when I was as well. Forming opinions based on gut feeling, sometimes limited information from someone else, just like the way politicians and news agencies do us, give us limited data to try to guide our opinions.
Sometimes, when several people encounter a person. Some see them and think he is a great guy, confident, good at what he does, pleasant, etc. Yet someone else that meets him at the same time thinks the same person is arrogant, conceited, egotistical and a jerk. Same guy, but two different perspectives. Why? Opinion, perspective, attitude. We all have history that adds to our impressions and thoughts of people. Some are very judgmental, without valid information but still, we judge. I have in the past. I really learned about that and try hard not to do that anymore. I could apply the same thing to my dad. He was one of those, straightforward and direct. If he had something to say, he said it. He didn’t try to be mean about it. Well, maybe a few times when I was a kid and needed to be told that way. But, depending on who you asked, he was either exactly what he was, straightforward and direct, or if one didn’t know him or someone had said something that made the person have already decided they weren’t going to like him, they would have said he was blunt and rude. He may have said the exact same thing to two different people, but because they had the different perspectives they had different impressions on how he said something and acted. I at times thought both ways, usually if I thought he was being blunt and rude, maybe harsh would be a better word for it, I was likely getting chewed out so my perspective, my attitude on information and how I received it were completely different.
Attitude, and perspective are related in a manner. Our attitude markedly impacts our perspective. If we are in a good mood, have an upbeat attitude, then more than likely we will see things in a positive light. If we are upset, angry, mad, or any the other negative emotions we will see things from a different perspective, we will receive the information differently.
Two different people can read the same article in a magazine, maybe a political article. One of them thinks it was a well written, well thought out piece with great insight and the other thinks that the article was poorly written, with no thought to content and absolutely zero value, packed full of lies and rhetoric. How does one read and finds it enlightening and another finds it insulting? Why, perspective and attitude. Maybe one had read the same writer’s articles before and due to topic or political thoughts, decided they did not like the writer or their work. So, anything they read from them will be perceived as poorly done. Perhaps, because of that attitude, they are looking for reasons to criticize the writer. Look for reasons to take some sort of offense about what they wrote. Sometimes, the article is the article and it doesn’t mean more than it says. Sometimes, if one tries to insert things, to read between the lines, they miss the real message. But, always, if someone reads something, talks to someone or has some other interaction, if they approach it with a negative, closed mind attitude they will find something to get upset or offended about. If one tries to be offended, anything, and everything will offend them. Back to my dad, if we were talking and I had a bad attitude about what he was saying, my perspective was different than if I had an open mind about things. If my attitude was negative, I could be offended. I have heard people complain about a sermon, because something the Pastor said offended them. Yet, other people were making all kinds of positive, complimentary comments. About the SAME sermon. Why? Attitude and perspective. Sadly, there are those that want to be offended and if they approach anything with that attitude, they will be offended. They may read far more into things than intended.
I believe it was Mark Twain who was interviewed, and some literature critic was talking to him about one of his stories. The critic said that they thought this and that about the story, that what Twain was trying to say was this about society or politics. Twain answered, “well, sometimes a story may mean more than it says, but most of the times, a story is just a story and only means what is written.” But, the critic had a hard time accepting that because according to his training, all stories have other things to say than just the words on the page.
Well, after talking with God some, I realized (ok, a Captain Obvious moment) that he doesn’t want me making inaccurate decisions, opinions, having a negative attitude and such about people, things and life in general. He wants me to consider things from more than one side, get more data, see what other information I can gather to make a proper, correct, accurate perspective to make a good decision. He doesn’t want me to read more into people’s actions, into words I hear and read, than what is said. Oh, if in a conversation, the tone, body language and all play into what information you receive, but putting too much into things, without really understanding all available information causes our perspective to be off. We don’t know if it really is a 6 or a 9 or which person, like in the first cartoon, is right and who is wrong. What we do need to do is realize that we humans, often, probably more often than not, we allow ourselves to develop some sort of bias, some sort of skewed perspective that alters what we see and gives us inaccurate impressions.
1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
7 And there they preached the gospel.
The Jews and Greeks referenced were stirred up against Paul and Barnabas, incited, they developed a group attitude to take offense with them, their perspectives were skewed, and they were going to stone them. Obviously, attitude and perspective played into this.
1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
Here we see two different perspectives and attitudes. The first people were open, receptive and the message was well accepted. The Jews that did not believe had completely different attitudes and perspectives. They had closed their minds, they had decided that anything Paul said would be wrong and nothing he could say would have changed their attitudes. They had made up their minds before he said a word. They took offense at his teachings.
Paul did not change between those times, he was teaching and preaching the gospel of Christ. Some received it well, some did not. All because of their respective attitudes and perspectives. Those who wish to find good in his word, found good. Those who wished to find negative or be offended were able to do so.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Longer passage there, but I see that we need to mind full of hope, patience and tolerance. That we should not attack one another as Christians, that we need to have the right attitude and perspective.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2:16
And, we are to have the mind of Christ, not mortal minds. We have to lay aside our human attitudes and opinions to find the truth of God and salvation through Christ.
I worship You. I thank You for Your grace, my salvation and the blessings You give me. I ask that You help me have the right attitude and perspective when studying the Bible and dealing with others. Help me have the mind of Christ. I ask that You continue to work in my heart and mind to bring me to the point that You desire for me. Work in the hearts and minds of loved ones that they receive the same. Draw us all closer.
Well, I didn’t mean to be this long winded, so to speak, but just thinking on how my attitude and perspective interfered with life, and with my relationship with Christ. I hope this is helpful to someone. Thanks for stopping by. Please share any of my posts that you feel will help someone.
And, be a blessing to others today.