“There's an old saying that "perception is reality." But is this statement true? Not very often! Reality is always factual, but perceptions can vary widely. Different people may view the facts in different ways, but that doesn't change the truth of the matter. For example, individuals or groups may perceive God differently, but that does not change God. God is God and that will always be reality. What the saying "perception is reality" means is that people will react to their own perceptions as if they are the real truth. It's the way we see things!
Name a particular group, organization or business, and you'll find people's opinions often differ wildly regarding its purpose, position and function. They have perceived its nature based on their own experience and viewpoint”.
I stumbled upon this the today and realized that God is so strongly at work in me that I’m amazed – even though I know I shouldn’t be. He’s always up to something. I’ve had the perception that He’s preparing me for something for a long time now.
So, again, yesterday, our lunch room conversation turned to a highly controversial subject. And of course, opinion’s varied. Or perceptions varied.
Topic: illegal immigration.
I listened more than spoke, only because I have such mixed emotion and opinion about it. “Beep” went my internal watch. I’ve since stopped carrying the stop watch.
The majority of the contributors to this conversation had really strong opinions of their own perceptions – this is “my” country, this is “my” tax dollar, this is “my” land, “my house” and so the conversation went. And I completely understand that there is frustration where people come into “my” country, and violate our laws and land in jail, only to be supported by “our” money, tax payers money.
But I feel the same way about the people who were born here. So for me, it’s not a prejudice against a particular nationality, just a prejudice against people who are evil. Could that be “righteous prejudice”?
As I meditated on this subject last night, it was revealed to me that none of this is “mine”. This is God’s land, God’s money, and God’s jail.
If we change our perception to it all belonging to its Rightful Owner, then does it all really matter? As I kept thinking about the conversation, I just kept redirecting my thinking to this not being “mine” but God’s and the frustration I felt other people had over the illegal immigration problem diminished.
If anyone has a right to hate someone else, God does. And yet, we read that "God so loved the world" (John 3:16)— so much so that He wants to include its people in His eternal family. When I say, “people”, it doesn’t just refer to “American’s”. It refers to ALL PEOPLE.
Now, that’s not to say that I have had a complete change of heart. But I am made more aware of the brokeness of people, regardless of race or culture. There is still a part of me that says, “If you come to this country, obey the laws or go back to your own country. Or we’ll send you back”. And I’m reminded that we are to pay Cesar’s things to Cesar and God’s things to God. And I’m still troubled in my heart that I have that part of me that says – “its mine and you can’t have it”.
I’m reminded that I am broken too. And I am humbled.