Perception is reality.” The way you see yourself and the world around you is your reality. The “way things are” is the way things are to you. Everybody won’t have the same perspective because everybody isn’t looking from the same place, with the same life experience, but the way you perceive people and situations will become your lens for what is real or not.
You’ve heard the saying, “Seeing is believing.” It’s more like “believing is seeing.” Once you believe something is a certain way, you will do all you can to defend and backstop that certainty. No amount of argument, data, facts, or evidence will change your mind. These certainties have become a matter of the heart, of your emotions, and of your spirit – even of your identity.
Data is data. Facts are facts. We can debate the meaning the facts, or have different responses to the facts, and even debate the reliability of the source of the facts. Facts are a head issue. We can believe what we want to believe. Believing is a heart issue.
In the opening scenes of Kevin Costner’s Wyatt Earp, the Earp family is waiting for their oldest sons to return from the Civil War. Young Wyatt’s father declares, “The war will be over soon, and your brothers will be coming home.” Wyatt asks him, “How do you know?” And his father replies, “Because I want it to be so.
Opinions can take on the power of beliefs. Not only might we say, “I think…” or “My opinion is…,” we can easily slip into expressing our perspective as belief: “I believe something is true, fake, a conspiracy, right or wrong.” Rather than listening to each other and trying to understand from where each other is coming, we divide ourselves into like-minded groups. Author Larens Van der Post observes: Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right. Let’s focus on loving each other the way he loves. Let’s seek first to understand before demanding that we are understood. Rather than proclaiming that we are “right” and others are “wrong” let us humble ourselves to Jesus’ Way – his way of seeing and doing.