Perception is a peculiar thing.
Just because I see something one way, does not mean you see it the same.
Do you remember the dress of 2015? The one no one could agree the colours on? Some said it was black and blue, others said it was white and gold. The colours were actually black and blue, but the photo led many to see a white and gold dress.
It’s not only colours we perceive differently. Ever had a dispute with someone? My view of the dispute could be very different to that of the other person, but both of us feel wronged.
And what about politics? What seems like the right course of action for one party may be the complete opposite to another.
Perception leads us to what we believe is truth. Something does not necessarily need to be true for us to accept it as truth, however, often what we perceive as true, becomes truth to us.
If we go back to the dress example, I saw a white and gold dress. I was convinced and believed those were its colours based on what I saw. However, that truth, my truth, was confronted when I heard some people saw black and blue, and later on that those were the actual dress colours.
What I perceived was true, actually wasn’t. And so my perception had to be corrected to line up with the truth.
The dress is a trivial example, but what if we consider friendships. A couple of weeks ago I had to cancel plans with a friend because I wasn’t feeling well. I then didn’t hear from her for a while and I began to think I had offended her. My thoughts were then so focused on how I can fix our relationship because I believed I had hurt her. This had become my truth.
After a while a text came through. It was my friend being so kind and caring, completely understanding of why I had to cancel and offering to drive all the way out to where I live to bring me anything I need.
What was it I believed again?
My thinking that I had offended my friend and ruined our friendship was a lie. But that lie had become my truth and I was going to act on it as though it were absolute truth.
Now this is a seemingly small lie, even a misunderstanding, that was fairly quickly resolved, however, sometimes there are things in our lives that need a bit more time and a little more work to be corrected to line up with the truth.
A little while ago, I felt the LORD lead me to Matthew 6:23
“But if your eye is bad (spiritually blind), your whole body will be full of darkness (devoid of God’s precepts). So if the (very) light inside you (your inner self, your heart, your conscience) is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness!”Matthew 6:23 AMP
Light allows us to see and guides us in the paths we take and decisions we make. (It rhymes so you can remember :P)
This verse suggests that the light is your heart or your conscience. Colloquially, the light is your gut, as in, “go with your gut”.
If we have a good light full of God’s word that shines brightly and illuminates our path, we can see where we’re walking and avoid any pitfalls.
However, if we have a bad light, a light that is dim and doesn’t work, or even shines on the wrong things, we are not able to see where we are going and are not able to stay away from danger.
Our light may have started off brightly, but various things along the way caused it to grow dim. These things could be experiences, mindsets we’ve adopted or even straight out lies.
These things, if they are lies and contrary to what God says, are like dirt that gathers and covers our light.
And because this tainted light is the light we use to see where we are going on this road called life, we will shine this darkened light on everything that comes our way and consequently perceive everything in that bad light.
That person looked at me, I must have done something wrong. My colleague’s tone was quite strong, it must be because I offended them. My friend hasn’t texted me in ages, I must not be worthy of their time. And so on and so forth.
In my earlier example, I believed a lie that I had done something wrong by cancelling with my friend because I was unwell. I shone the light tainted with the lie on my friendship, which made me perceive that I had hurt her.
But that was not the truth.
It was what I perceived to be truth, but it wasn’t the truth.
This may lead to some questions, like, if what I see is not always true, what is truth? Is there such a thing as truth?
Well, those are very deep questions that I may delve into more deeply on this blog at some point.
However, I do believe there is such a thing as absolute truth, and that truth comes from God.
But even with God’s truth, we can often see it incorrectly.
Life happens. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Things come onto us and gather onto our light. This happens in many ways and over a long period of time.
Sometimes we can easily see that something is a lie and we can deal with it straight away and clean it off our light. Other times we’ve become so accustomed to a dim light that we don’t know any different.
Yet spending time with God and in His truth allows us to see if our light has grown dim.
Your word is a lamp to my feetPsalm 119:105 AMP
And a light my path.
It is comforting to know what when we do not know how to perceive something, or our light has become so tainted with lies, that His Word will light our way.
Not only that, His bright light illuminates the lies we’ve grown accustomed to and accepted, and helps us see the truth. His truth.
Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”John 8:12 AMP
His light enables us to see as He sees, no matter the darkness we’ve grown accustomed to.
When God led me to Matthew 6:23 that day, I also felt Him speak to me about a promise I am believing for but at that moment was struggling to believe for.
I heard Him say, “Do you see Me in there? Do you see Me right beside you, helping make this happen?”
I had begun to believe that it was all up to me to make it happen, yet I felt so powerless and had become discouraged. But God came and addressed that lie by asking me to see as He sees.
And in that moment, I did. I saw Him there, with me, guiding me, being way ahead of me on my journey.
A few days later, I forgot about this and was discouraged again.
But then I went back to what He said and looked to see what He sees, and I was encouraged again.
Cleaning our light doesn’t always happen once and for all. Sometimes, especially with lies we have believed for a long time, it takes a while and a conscious effort to clean our light.
But as we make the decision to see by His light and dwell in His Word, we will renew our minds to be more and more like His (Romans 12:2), and steadily clear off the dirt from our light.
Then we no longer see with a dim and dirty light, but we see with His light and we will see Him.