September 25, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Perspective

Brother-Aaron-236x300Not long ago Marianne and I were enjoying dinner at a nice restaurant.

As we were eating I noticed a woman walk by with a little girl who looked to be about two years old walking behind her. She was a tiny little thing.

I assume she was the lady’s daughter. Anyway, as they were walking by, her mother turned to go another direction.

The little girl, who was mesmerized by all the adults around her, missed the turn. The mother, who quickly realized that the child wasn’t following her, turned, took her by the hand, and quickly corrected her path.

As I watched this scene unfold, I thought to myself: What must the world look like from her perspective? I wondered what it must be like to be a two-foot-tall-two-year-old in a restaurant filled with tall adults.

And while I don’t know her perspective, I promise you that it was different from mine. And as I pondered this a little more, I came to the conclusion that a lot of the problems in this world can be traced back to what I was witnessing – perspective. As human beings we judge everything in life – by our perspective.

In his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” author Stephen Covey states that one of the habits that highly effective people share is, they seek first to understand, then to be understood.

In other words, before they try to convince you of their opinion, they seek first to gain a clear understanding of yours. Novel idea, isn’t it? Can you imagine how different the world would be if everybody did that? Wow!

I heard the story of a teacher who divided his classroom. He had half the students stand on one side while the other half stood on the other. Then, standing in the middle, he took a sheet of paper from a folder, held it up, and asked the students what color it was. The students on the left side said it was white. The students on the right vehemently disagreed, stating that it was clearly black.

It was only when he turned the sheet of paper around that they saw it from the other students point of view. The paper was white on one side and black on the other.

Each side was correct in their argument … while simultaneously being wrong. Their perspective only allowed them to see one side of the sheet of paper. They couldn’t see both sides of the paper at once.

In life, we have to purposely view something from somebody else’s perspective, or point of view, to fully understand why they believe and act as they do. To be honest with you, sometimes I struggle to understand or see God’s perspective regarding my life.  Maybe you do too.

One of the greatest stories in the Bible regarding perspective is Moses and his burning bush experience. Moses was a miracle child. He was born under the sentence of death.

His mother floated him down the Nile and he landed at the feet of Pharaoh’s daughter. He was raised and educated in the Pharaoh’s house and Egyptian culture. He was most likely going to be the next Pharaoh.

But then he killed an Egyptian and ran for his life. For forty years he’s been a shepherd on the backside of nowhere. Now, we’ve read the story and we know he would lead the Children of Israel out of slavery, part the Red Sea, and stand on the mountain and receive the Ten Commandments from the very hand of God.

But at this particular moment, God changes his perspective. This day all that was required of Moses was to take his shoes off, worship, and allow the God of the Universe to reveal Himself to him.

All that was required was that he seek to understand God perspective before demanding God to understand his. It totally changed his perspective. It totally changed his life. And it totally changed history.

Maybe today somebody reading this column needs to seek first to understand God’s perspective in your life before demanding that He understand yours. It just may change your perspective. In fact, it may change your life!

Brother Aaron

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