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BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE AND LIFE APPLICATION XLVII: PERCEPTION


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Perception is the way we think about or understand something or someone.

erception, like everything else in human's life, is influenced by our Nature and Nurture. Nature is both biological and spiritual, in this case biological, in-terms of being either an optimist or a pessimist, the biggest influence of perception however is our nurturing (family, communities, peers etc.) we got growing up.

While a child's nature is fully established at birth (really at fertilization), he/she is a clean slate on what is written on his/her mind based on the experience (conscious and unconscious) of life acquired at home, at church, from extended family, from the neighborhood, and other institutions (media, entertainment etc.) that influence (human) thinking. Exposure also affect perception, if a person's experience is limited to his/her immediate communities compared to someone else who had the opportunity to grow up in many communities (e.g. children of military personal or state department families).

Perception needs a truth or a value to relate or point to, that is something or someone. It could be God's truth and principles of the Bible, it could be an ethical issue - what apostle Paul calls "not all things is unlawful and not all things are expedient either", it could be the reputation we ascribe to an individual etc., most of us often view issues from the prism of our nurturing - so, an African child view the marriage institution from the prism of African culture, compared to an American or an Arab child. Chelsea Clinton's view of life (born in Arkansas state house and grew up in the White House) would be very different from a friend, Pastor Jackie Holgate, a Native American who grew up on a reservation, the only one I know who speak a tribal language, was a shepherd (took care of herds of sheep) and is now a pastor of a thriving church within the AG system.

Since we humans are a product of our thinking, our perception of the issues we face and have to deal with has a lot to do with what becomes of our lives, how successful we are in our assignment on earth, and how obedient we are to God's written word. Abraham's perspective of who God affected his obedience, including attempting to sacrifice his "promised" child, David's perspective of who God, compared to Saul's - affected how both men responded to God's instruction as kings of Israel.

Joseph was wronged by his brothers, sold into slavery and lied that he was killed by a wild animal, he was put in prison for not committing adultery with his master's wife and was forgotten in prison for almost three years, yet when he got to position of authority and he could avenge himself with every person who offended him, he chose to forgive, his classic revelation of himself to his brothers in Genesis 45 is something every Christian should study - Joseph had the right perspective based on God's law. David also had the right perspective when twice he had the life of Saul, who was chasing him in his hand, and chose not to kill Saul because of a Law of Moses that says not to touch an anointed. He [David] had another perspective of God that made him God's favorite - he was a worshipper and repented quickly.

To have the right perspective, it is very important for us to know Biblical principles and separate it from culture - which we learn from our environment.

In the marriage institution we have the rules, God the creator of the institution put in place for us to have a healthy marriage, unfortunately our sinful nature and nurturing (communities) has presented us with an alternate perspective that seeks to blend perfectly with our sinful nature. For instance, man as the head/leader of marriage as an institution is now seen/viewed as a superior being to his wife, which has created lots of cultural dynamics around the world. Another perspective is the notion that marriage is a partnership with co-heads, as good as it might look or sound in our post-modern feminist world, it is a wrong perspective man is the head (administrative) of the marriage institution. A terribly wrong perspective today is the structure of the marriage institution itself (Man and Woman), where a sinful feeling is now accepted as norm and changing the very definition of marriage as an institution.

In our faith, perspective is very important as well, we all read the same bible, yet we have a different perspective on whom and what the function of the Holy Spirit is? We read the same bible, yet some view faith as God meeting their every desire they have, while some view faith as trust in a sovereign Lord, who knows and can do all things. Perspective is why some with the appellate "Christian" believe the bible is fallible, while others with the same appellate believe it is infallible.

In our parenting, perspective causes problem between a husband and his wife, the husband might be a short-term punishment person while the wife is a long-term punishment person. I know that parenting style was a huge issue in my home, until we both agreed to disagree, for me that mean not sweating when my wife apply her perspective in disciplining the kids, I figured the kids are smart enough to know and adapt to both our parenting style (they did).

Perspective is relevant in every aspect of our lives, what is important and what we need to watch and take note of is, what nature and nurture issues cloud or influence our perspectives, and what do we need to do to make sure that our perspective line up with God's laws and principles, to worship and Glorify His name.

What is your Perspective on Anger and Forgiveness, on the Marriage Institution, on Faith or Relationship with Christ, on why you are here on earth, on who or what is responsible for your life, on life after earth (eternity)?

Your perspective or how you answer these questions would make a huge difference in how you run your life.

Remain Blessed

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