Perception is so important. . .

I’m convinced that part of the result of the curse of the sin of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, (Genesis 3) is that it changed how we think. . . and thus how we perceive others. . . Because not only do we now have to weigh their actions and words, . . . but it is filtered through our own perception of how what they just said or did affects us, coloring our attitude toward them.

Our perception of others is affected by our past experiences, hurts, failures, and feelings that are still present with us many years after an offense or unpleasant experience occurs, coloring our thoughts today.

And what we perceive might not even be correct or true,. . . but we believe it to be true. . . and then it becomes reality to us.. . . and yet it is not true. . . which makes it a lie.  Just because we believe something to be true doesn’t make it so. . . but it does create a certain reality for us. . .albeit wrong, detrimental, and dysfunctional. (If you like stories about altered reality, you might enjoy my book, Speak No Evil.)

Consider the terrorists, who believe they are doing God a favor bombing women, children, and innocent victims.  Just because they think what they are doing is right and true doesn’t make it so — it is still evil.  They might be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong, their hearts stained with sin, their thoughts colored with evil.

And just because we think our husband is being insensitive, or trying to hurt our feelings on purpose, or is ambivalent to us, or purposely not hearing what we are trying to say. . . that doesn’t mean it is actually true.  It may just be our perception. . . which may be entirely wrong.

It seems a great evil that it is so difficult to express our feelings and thoughts to someone who we are supposed to be so close to. . . someone who is one flesh. . . someone we thought was one mind. . . someone who used to be able to read our thoughts. . .someone who now twists our words or motives. . . who seems to purposely misunderstand us.  It seems evil. . . and yet, God said that marriage is very good.

God help us to seek truth in our marriages.  Give us grace to seek to understand and know our mate.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them when they trespass against us. Deliver us from the evil of following the stubbornness of our heart. Help us to know the truth, and allow it to set us free from strife, error, argument and division.  Resurrect our marriages and our relationships with the same power that raised Christ from the dead.  Color us with your love.

Make today a new beginning, free from the pain and the misperceptions of the past.

Further reflections:

  1. What if you could take the bland colorless view of your marriage today, and color it with vibrant hues of love and tender compassion? And wouldn’t it be nice to go back and recolor the past? We do have this moment — color it beautiful!