07 Nov What Do You Think?
Perception is reality…until it isn’t. People are always trying to tell us that we must be concerned with…dare I say, focused on…perception. Our motives…our content…our intentions…none of that matters. The only thing that matters is how others perceive us.
When you send a text message or email, emotion and intention are lost. The reader’s mood matters more than our message when it comes to understanding the content. We have to take into account whether the reader had enough coffee that morning, got into a fight with their spouse, is behind on their workload, or may be carrying a past transgression to the grave. It can be overwhelming!
I read a post recently from one of my Naval Academy classmates. She was taking a walk through her neighborhood. She approached a neighbor’s house. She did not know this neighbor very well, but he was in the front yard. My friend smiled and nodded hello. Nothing. The neighbor did not respond at all. Oh, well, my friend thought.
The next day, the same scenario happened: she was out for a walk, approached the neighbor’s house, and she waved hello. Nothing. This time, she was annoyed. I do not care what kind of mood he is in, he should acknowledge my greeting. Give me a head nod, a cursory wave, or a smile…something! As she prepared to give him a piece of her mind, she stopped in her tracks. She realized it was a halloween decoration. Her takeaway: she was ready for Halloween to be over; and she scheduled an appointment with the eye doctor.
We cannot allow the perception of other people to define our worth. My friend got upset because of a perceived slight, and that poor Halloween dummy almost got berated because someone mistook his silence for rudeness. We put too much emphasis on what others think about us, instead of what God knows about us.
Jesus knew how short this life was in comparison to eternity. He did not have time to worry with perception. He did not hope the disciples understood who He was and what He was about; Jesus asked them (Matthew 16:15). He said, Who do you say that I am? We have to know who Jesus is to us and what He is calling us to do. Jesus is our Savior, and He needs our undivided attention.
I forget too quickly what a blip this life is on the radar screen of eternity. We have so little time, and we spend too much of it thinking about what other people think. That is a great deal of wasted thinking.
This Sunday, our sermon series moves to Type Three: The Performers. Threes are the most celebrated types in our American culture because we love accomplishments and achievements. There can be too much concern around perception, and we are looking at ways to move past what others think about our successes or failures to what God knows about our hearts. I hope to see you on Sunday!
Blessings to you,