AMG Publishers/Living Ink
We view things not only from different sides but with different eyes. ~BLAISE PASCAL
IN AN EPISODE of the popular “Peanuts” comic strip series, Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy are lying on a hillside looking up at the clouds.
“If you use your imagination you can see lots of things in the cloud formations.What do you see, Linus?” Lucy asks. “Well, those clouds up there look like a map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, a famous painter. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impressions of the stoning of Stephen. I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side,” Linus replies.
“What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?” Lucy inquires.
“Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsey—but I changed my mind.”
Just as we can see different things when we look at clouds, we can also see different things when we view life. Pastor Ed Manning tells about a situation when a woman approached him to ask a question. As she drew closer to him, he tipped his head back to look through the bottom lenses of his bifocals to focus on her more clearly.
“There you go again!” the woman exploded. “You stick your nose up in the air every time I talk to you! Who do you think you are? I’m sick of your arrogant attitude!”
Pastor Manning was taken aback by her outburst of anger.
“You don’t understand,” he explained. “I’m not sticking my nose up in the air at you. I just can’t see you when you get near me. I’m tilting my head back so I can see you through the bottom half of my bifocals.”
The woman had misperceived the situation. She had been harboring resentment toward him, thinking he had been looking down at her. Although it wasn’t true, that’s how she viewed their relationship. Pastor Manning wore bifocals, but she wore rejection glasses.
She’s not alone. The world is filled with people who misinterpret what they see. It’s been a problem since biblical times.
King Saul acquired a perverted perspective on the day he heard Israeli women praising David’s accomplishments more than his own. Through jealousy glasses he “looked at David with suspicion from that day on” (1 Sam. 18:6–9). Ten spies sneaked into the land of Canaan, looked through inferiority glasses and said, “We became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Num. 13:33). The vineyard workers looked through envy glasses, compared dollars per hour, and griped about their paychecks (see Matt. 20:10–16). The Pharisees viewed Jesus through judgmental glasses, trying to find fault with the perfect Son of God (see Luke 6:7).
Perspective is in the eye of the beholder. Rejection, jealousy, and inferiority are just a few of the attitudes that create logjams in a viewer’s eyes.We all perceive the world in our own unique way. Everyone views and interprets life differently, even when our eyes are fixed on the same thing.
Many of the problems we have with each other are created because of our mismatched perspectives. A movie reviewer assigns a four-star rating to a film while another critic gives it only one star. And they both watched the same movie.
How many times have we clashed with someone because we didn’t see eye to eye? Husbands and wives quarrel with each other because they view issues differently. Employees don’t get along with bosses because of their opposing perspectives.
Politicians debate the same issues with contrary opinions.
Why do people see things so differently?
Very simple. It’s the glasses we wear.
But these are special glasses; they’re not worn on our eyes.
These glasses are worn on our heart. They’re devilish lenses that distort the way we view life.
Satan hands his demons a work order for the destruction he wants to accomplish each day. Hell’s workshop is laboring overtime, making glasses so we’ll see our world in twisted, perverted ways. The enemy knows that if he can distort our perspectives, we’ll respond with wrong attitudes and actions. A warped outlook on life will cause us to sink into depression, withdraw from relationships, view others suspiciously, and even hate ourselves.Many of us live in defeat because we look at life through the devil’s glasses instead of through God’s eyes.
Perspective is created when our eyes and hearts exchange information. Although we see with our eyes, we perceive with our hearts (see John 12:40). Perception is the way our hearts interpret what we see. The attitude that fills our hearts forms the glasses through which we view our world.
We don’t see things alike because we don’t wear the same glasses. Suppose three people are seated in a room, each wearing various colored sunglasses. Each person looks at the same white piece of paper lying on the table. The one wearing pink glasses sees the paper as pink; the person with yellow glasses views yellow; and the one wearing blue glasses sees blue.When asked to explain what they see, they argue about the true color of the paper.
They each view the paper as a different color because they look through different glasses. Each claims to be right, but none see it correctly. Their colored lenses filter the way they perceive the paper, so they can’t see it as white.
The same principle applies to the way we view life.Wrong attitudes color our perspectives, so we see things in tainted ways.Until we take off our glasses,we can’t see things as they really are.We’re merely fooling ourselves into thinking we see correctly.
The different kinds of spectacles are as many as the attitudes that contaminate our hearts. Negative people view their world through pessimist glasses. Restless people constantly search for greener grass because they look through discontentment glasses. People who imagine that others avoid them wear rejection glasses. Inferiority glasses make people see themselves in a self-destructive way. Looking through envy glasses makes viewers upset when others appear to have more.
When these attitudes seize control of our hearts, our perspective gets thrown out of whack. We see things from a twisted point of view which affects the way we act and react.
Perspective affects our moods. The way we perceive things can lift us to the highest state of ecstasy or it can plunge us into the lowest pit of depression.
Perspective affects our relationships. We assume what others are thinking, even though it may not be true. Our perception creates conflict and confusion in the way we relate to one another.
Perspective affects our decisions.We can imagine the most unlikely scenarios and react unwisely.
Can you see how perspectives control how we think and what we do? If we perceive wrongly, we can suddenly find ourselves in trouble. Is there any way to fix the perspective problem?
I’m sure you think that if everyone could look through your eyes, the world’s problems would be solved. There would finally be peace on earth and good will toward men. OK—your wish is granted.
Let’s suppose that everyone on this planet is an absolutely identical clone of you. You all have the same preferences and opinions. Everyone thinks the same. Each individual sees from your viewpoint.
Now imagine—hypothetically, of course—that you are married to you.Would you have a perfect marriage? Would you ever argue with yourself ? What if you both wanted the last piece of chicken? Suppose neither of you wanted to take out the trash.What if you were both in bad moods? Yes, you would still have arguments with yourself if you were married to you. You would find out how difficult it can be to live with yourself. You might even ask yourself for a divorce!
If everyone in the world had identical perspectives, we would still have conflicts.Why? Because we’re all selfish. Self insists on seeing everything through its own dogmatic point of view. “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives” (Prov. 16:2).
This is why we look at things so differently.We’re self-centered in our own peculiar ways.We’re looking through sinstained, selfish glasses which tarnish the way we view our world. These tinted lenses on our hearts pervert our perspectives and prevent us from seeing things as they really are.
Ungodly attitudes pollute our hearts, which creates distortion in our vision. We look at circumstances from a human point of view. We behold others through judgmental eyes. We see ourselves in comparison to others. King Solomon tells us, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil” (Prov. 3:7). Taking off our glasses and focusing on the right things can correct our vision. We can look at our circumstances from His heavenly viewpoint.
We can behold others through His compassionate eyes. We can see ourselves as His marvelous handiwork. Perspective can be corrected, but it begins with a change of heart.