In the picture attached to this post, there are actually three very different things one might notice when looking at it. What do you see?
In life, we encounter situations in which we believe very strongly that we know all we need to know about what’s going on. We are surprised when others have a different opinion. Often, we find out later that we misread the circumstances. Maybe we were partially right, but there was much more than what we thought we saw. We can do the same with people, letting our initial impressions define who we think a person is. Later, we may find out that we were very wrong about our assessment.
Another area we can do this is reading the Bible. There is so much available to us in Scripture, and we have a tendency to think we have things figured out. Many of us have a strong tendency to trust our perspective, but it can be awfully flawed.
Our perspective has been pieced together over time, like an unfinished puzzle. It is unique and important, but it isn’t perfect. It’s always missing pieces.
Our perspective is formed by a lifetime of interactions with others and our environment. Love, hurt, rejection, loss, betrayal, traumatic events, success, failure…it all plays a role in forming the lens with which we view the world around us.
Since our perspective may sometimes impair our ability to judge accurately, what are we to do to help us see what’s really in front of us?
We must be willing to admit to ourselves and others that we don’t have it all figured out.
Input from others helps us see the full picture. This not only includes situations we find ourselves in and people we meet, but even what we see when we evaluate ourselves! Our self-reflection and self-analysis isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We need honest assessments from those around us who know us and love us.
When looking at the picture attached to this post, some see a little girl, some see scenery, and others see a skull. I may have only seen the little girl without having input from others who see the scenery and the skull. No big deal there. It’s just a picture. But when I dismiss people from my lives because my assessment of them tells me they are not worth my time, I very well may be missing out on some pretty fantastic encounters and friendships. If I read over a familiar passage of Scripture quickly without my heart open to what God may be saying to me, I may miss a new experience with God and truth that I desperately need to rest in.
Finding God’s truth is not something we do on our own. We do it together.
Trusting ourselves with each other does not mean absence of disagreement. In fact, disagreement is necessary and healthy along the way. But we need God’s grace to make our way through multiple incomplete perspectives trying to come together in love to discover the truth. The gospel of grace is of upmost importance for us to rely on. God gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6), so to experience grace we must humble ourselves with each other. Humility, or willingness to be vulnerable with each other, is the key to working through conflict and disagreement to embrace truth. Humility lets us admit we need others to speak into our lives. It’s what helps us see not just the little girl in the picture, but also the scenery (which may represent details about what is going on) and the skull (which may represent potential pitfalls or danger) as well.
Ultimately, truth is not just knowledge or things to know. Christ referred to Himself as “the truth”. Knowing the truth is knowing Christ. As believers we are referred to as “the body of Christ”. As “the body of Christ”, we have access to the truth. It’s in us because Christ is in us. However, we must work together, like hands and feet, to realize and embrace the truth. If we try to go it alone, we will forfeit precious moments of closeness (intimacy) with God and each other.
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