Perspective

I’ve been thinking about perspective non-stop since yesterday. I’m always intrigued with it, but some videos I saw yesterday, and the movie Noah last week have triggered it anew.

We see what we want to see. We see what we choose to see.

We can all see the same thing and perceive it differently, walk away thinking completely different thoughts.

In fact, the filters we bring to a happening, an idea, even a remark can spark such  disparate cognitions and reactions. How much is programming and how much is choice? It is almost frightening. And yet it has a good side to it too. One choice can make all the difference.

Yesterday I was talking with a client who was so discouraged about her powerlessness over an addiction, and over her inability to make choices that she wanted to die. Not feeling you can choose for yourself, not feeling you have any power is a very scary place to be.

And yet as Jesus’ follower I believe that is why God came here, lived as a human and died as a criminal, so he could give us back the power to make choices. No, He doesn’t make us choose Him. He is very respectful. But he knows how long we can last without Him, and the hostile environment we were born into, on this planet, because of someone else’s will.

Twenty-five years of listening to other people’s problems is enough to know that we don’t always create our own issues or messes. We come with a predisposition to making bad choices, or thinking we can’t choose.

This is the time of year that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. If you reduce his death to its lowest terms, it was to give us back choice. So we could choose him and life.

Another positive I discovered a few years ago in a very familiar passage of scripture is also a matter of perspective. And I like mine so much I want to share it. The passage has always been translated, “If you love me keep my commandments.” There is precedent both in the Greek syntax and in other passages for translating it that way.

But when we were in Chile on a mission, I was reading to my husband from an interlinear translation, and I read  John 13 and 14 together. The context grabbed me because Jesus had seemingly called Peter Satan. The emotions were so obvious. They were all blown away. And Jesus tries to comfort them. Suddenly I said, “That doesn’t make any sense for Jesus to say ‘If you love me, keep my commandments,’ when he’s right in the middle of comforting them.”

So I looked at the original beside it, and sure enough, the most simple translation would be, “If you love me my commandments will keep you.”

Wow what a difference! And when you realize the disparity of information bombarding us, you see the need for his commands keeping us–protecting us, defining what works and what doesn’t–because so much that we think works doesn’t, or ends in addiction and despair.

Protect your perspective with praise, gratitude, love, service and boundaries. These are His commands.

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