Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Do you remember the controversy about this 18 year old, South African runner in 2009? Her gender was in question after she won the 800 meter world title. Apparently, she was so impressive, yet not overly feminine, that they subjected her to testing to make sure she was a female and not a hermaphrodite. (Another long story...)
Now, this is not going to be a post about Caster Semenya but about perceptions. There are people that looked at this runner, judged her appearance and her performance, and built a perception of her that ended up being false. But this perception caused them to act in a certain way towards her.
We see this all the time and truth be told, we act on our perceptions as much as the next guy. Sometimes our perceptions end up being accurate, but sometimes they are not. And boy, are perceptions hard to change! I have this perception about the texture of fish in my mouth and I've got to tell you, if I don't start to gag at the thought of eating fish...well, it's my perception and I'm sticking with it!
Our perceptions of God affect our relationship with Him and unfortunately, often times our perceptions are wrong. But once we have a perception, they are really hard to change. Is God an angry judge? Or is He a gray-haired, tired old man, bored on a throne in heaven? Is He a loving Father or is He a legalistic, demanding Lord who delights in pouring out His wrath? Is He patient or is He uninvolved? Is He a buddy riding along in the passenger seat of life, or is He the Almighty Creator of the universe?
If man's perception of God affects his relationship with Him, so does his perception of the Word. I had a friend tell me recently that his adult son can't reconcile the angry, judgmental God of the Old Testament with the loving Jesus of the New. What would you say to this man? What is his perception of God? How can God be both?
It all comes down to this: we must enlarge our view of God and we must shrink our view of ourselves. As John the Baptist put it, He must increase, I must decrease. Too often we want to look at God through the lens of our personal experience rather than look at our lives through the lens of God's Word. Two totally different perception building perspectives.
Study the Word to know Him, not to find yourself. Seek His face. Learn His ways. In doing this, you might find out that your perception of God is not accurate. I'll wager that your perception of yourself is out of whack, as well.
One day we will see Him face to face and perception will become reality. But until then, I will not settle for a simple perception based on my own weaknesses - I will build my perceptions of God from His Word through a life long journey of knowing Him.