“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes.” Acts 9:17-18 NIV
I keep several pairs of glasses handy. One pair for distance. A second for sun. A third pair combines the two.
All three color what I see and how I see it. While one lens sharpens my distance vision, that same lens makes close-up print fuzzy. Tinted sunglasses block the sun’s rays when I run, but I can’t read my phone until I take them off.
However, other lenses, like childhood, culture, and beliefs, affect my perspective. These skew what I see and how I see it. They impact my ability to read a situation, how I see myself, and even how I view others.
I grew up in a performance-oriented home. Approval and affection were earned. This lens shaped my perception of God and his character. I viewed God as harsh. Unloving. Ready to pounce because of my sin. That perspective led me to strive for a perfection I could never attain, because I thought I had to earn his love. I wore frustration like a backpack. I felt unworthy of God’s love and everyone else’s too. I was miserable.
Until God showed me his perspective.
His unconditional love and acceptance still put me on my knees. What a relief and what a huge difference.
It always is, because his is the only perspective that’s completely true.
How do we see with God’s lens?
1. God’s Baseline Perspective: Scripture. Don’t just read it. Believe it. Regardless of how you feel. Verses like:
- “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 1:3
- “For he [God] chose us in him [Jesus] before the creation of the world . . .” Ephesians 1:4
- “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing . . . Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life . . .” Ps. 23:1, 6
- “. . . because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
- “. . . neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:38-39
2. God’s Perspective Regarding You: Take another step. Don’t just affirm the eternal truth of the verses above, receive it. God is speaking to you. He’s speaking of his love for you. Your chosenness. His goodness toward you. His companionship with you. His partnership with you.
3. God’s Perspective Regarding Others: Look at others through those same verses. The spouse you’re ticked at. The child who frustrates you. The aging parent that lashes out. How does God see them? Ask him to show you. Like the multi-lensed, multi-colored glasses in the movie, National Treasure, are there layers and nuances God wants to reveal? What is he picking up on that you may have missed?
4. Not God’s Perspective: Ask God to reveal what lenses have distorted your vision. If someone has hurt me, I can view that person through the lens of offense (as opposed to grace or mercy). I expect the hurtful behavior to repeat and when it does, or if I perceive it has, it affirms my lens of offense. Ask God for some help here because we aren’t always aware of our lenses. Jot them down. Call them out. And trash them.
God’s lenses give the ultimate vision correction. Your frames will reflect your uniqueness, but the lenses are all his. Allow God to adjust your vision. How will you see differently?
Questions & Answers
1. Have each member of the family design their own frames. How will they reflect their uniqueness? How will God’s lenses (perspectives) be evident to others?
2. Are you passing defective lenses to your kids? Talk about any family lenses that need to go. Sibling rivalry. Stoicism. Performance expectations.
3. How can you direct your children to God’s perspective? Talk with them about the different lenses they see around them.
Peer pressure: To be in a certain group, you must ________.
Culture: If you don’t have _________, you’re a loser. Or worse, if you believe _________ and you don’t believe __________, you’re a bad person.
Entertainment: You’re okay with sex, language, and violence, right?
Relationship issues: If the relationship gets hard, just get rid of it and start over.
Hurts: When someone treats you like __________, get them back.
How we see a person or situation can affect our behavior, so spend some time here. How would God’s perspective counter each of these?
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