“Perception Is Reality” is a quote I’ve heard for years. It’s been played as a trump card in discussions so many times that I’m sick of it because it is a sound bite power play. The first time I heard it was from a gravel-voiced rebellious used car salesman with a graying mullet. It was a power play then, and most every time I’ve heard it since then it has been used as a power play on one level or another. “For THEM it IS their reality!” is usually the follow up statement. Thus the picture that accompanies this post…
But what about when a person’s perception IS NOT TRUE REALITY? Does that mean everyone else must adjust to that person’s perception of the way things are? I say no. To do otherwise is neither loving nor is it appropriate. If it were proper to adjust to other people’s perception of reality, Jesus would have done so with the Pharisees. He not only confronted their false perceptions of reality, but destroyed them. Jesus would not allow anyone to continue in THEIR perception of reality when He knew it was not only false… it was eternally damning!
False perceptions of reality MUST be confronted and corrected on whatever level they are encountered. A kitten thinking it is a lion can get it killed! So know that if/when you try to correct a person’s misinformed perception of reality, expect a lion’s response from that kitten! And therein is the lesson of how to approach a person whose perception is not based in reality. Consider…
Galatians 6:1 If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. 2 Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Some suggestions from these texts (These all first apply to the Gospel… then other life situations.):
1. (Gal 6:1) Keep in mind they don’t understand their situation… “caught.”
2. (Gal 6:1) Your goal must be restoration… not PROVING you are RIGHT.
3. (Gal 6:1) Your demeanor, attitude, words, & motivation MUST be gentle as you engage the person.
4. (Gal 6:2) Be careful that YOUR perception of reality is not just a flawed and misinformed as the other person!
5. (2 Tim 4:2-a) Speak the truth… whatever it is… whether it supports your position or not.
6. (2 Tim 4:2-b) Whatever the situation calls for… do (Reprove, rebuke, exhort).
7. (2 Tim 4:2-c ) Be over the top with patience… you’ll need it.
8. (2 Tim 4:2-d) In your patience speak truth to the person… many times if necessary… until they get it.
9. (2 Tim 4:5-a) You must be constant in your devotion to truth… “always be…”
10. (2 Tim 4:5-b) You will experience “blow back” from the misinformed individual… expect it… endure it… patiently.
11. (2 Tim 4:5-c) Your goal is to convert people to the truth… whatever it is.
12. (2 Tim 4:5-d) To fulfill your ministry (Your goal) stay on point to bring the truth of the Gospel to all people… knowing their perception of spiritual reality is massively flawed if it is not based on Christ.