You have the ability to write your own reality. Not literally, but cognitively. There is a such thing as absolute Truth, and I’m not suggesting that that can be altered with what we think. I’m talking about our perspective and the lengths we will go to maintain it. Our perspective is our current reality and it is never 100% correct. Yet, we base our attitudes and behavior on our perspective all of the time. Same thing flipped around: We are animated from a place that isn’t necessarily true.
It’s not what it means… it’s what you think it means that matters. You should challenge what you think every once in a while.
For example, you’ll makes excuses for the behavior of your friends in such a way that allows you to maintain your friendship. However, you create reasons for the behavior of your enemies that allows you to be morally superior and completely distrustful. It’s not really on purpose. It’s a human default setting. Your relationship with the person determines how you spin your explanation of them. This is how former friends can dislike each other and former lovers can tear each other’s character to pieces.
We see what we expect to see. Perspective is like a pair of prescription glasses. The prescription is determined by what you’ve already been through and what you expect to happen. It’s a really fast way for our brains to learn from our past and help us survive our future. It becomes a problem when a poisoned perspective goes unchallenged. Former friends don’t spend the kind of time together it would take eradicate the false assumptions.Unchecked false assumptions become truth and that “truth” becomes the stage for subsequent thoughts, words, and actions regarding the other. Lovers can forgive personality quirks as they focus on the good qualities that, but the personality quirks become back bites when a scorned lover needs balm for relational wounds.
There was a study done to determine the role of expectations with experience and memory. The questions revolved around whether or not the person can alter his or her experience with their perspective. Individuals were given a few seconds to look around a kitchen before they were taken to another room to write down what they saw in there. The goal was to illustrate their sharp memory and write down the most items. Included on their lists were items that were not in the kitchen, but are typically in a kitchen. These people could tell you where the toaster was from memory, even though there was no toaster in the kitchen. Their history with kitchens and their expectations created their reality and implanted a false memory. They remember seeing what they expected to see.
We do this all the time. Sometimes it’s harmless and even necessary. It’s how you protect yourself and survive dangerous situations. You don’t go down seedy allies at night, you don’t pick up hitchhikers, you grab your kid’s hand in response to a feeling. In essence, you trust your gut and that’s a good thing. But, it’s not always right. When your life could be in danger, then it doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong.
It does matter, however, when past pain has made you so cynical that you’ve cast a dark cloud over everything in an attempt to lower your expectations and avoid more pain and disappointment. You can’t go through life feeding the divide between you and your perceived adversaries. You need to allow yourself the opportunity to heal so that you don’t assume the worst so often that you miss the good things. Sometimes healing requires reaching out and making yourself vulnerable again.
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
How can you be salt and light in the world when you remain unchallenged and in the dark? It’s one thing to be non-believing cynic clothed in self-preservation against countless imaginary enemies. It’s another when you’re a proclaiming Christian who is supposed to be living life from a completely different perspective. It’s a perspective of being “more that conquerors” so that you can live “generously” among others by “opening up” to them. You can’t do that in your cocoon.
Part of the problem with all of these broken relationships is that we can too easily see what we assume is the presence of the spiritual enemy at work in the lives of the people we don’t necessarily like. It’s too easy to say that someone is spiritually deceived. Deeply rooted bitterness makes us unable to see God at work in another. Jesus said that you’re supposed to be a light-bearer to bring out the God-colors. Who is using you as an accuser?
It’s time to change your mind. Haven’t you heard it said to “hold your thoughts captive”? Isn’t that the idea behind the whole “intentional living” thing? Your thoughts actively write your reality. You’re not put on this earth to find fault, doubt the intent of a kind gesture, or vilify people you’ve marked for disposal. You are salt and light. If you can’t see God when you look at His people and they can’t feel His love through you, then why are you here?
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” – Jesus in Matthew 5:13 MSG
Reach out to someone. Maybe it will change your mind.