unexpected-road-signa few years ago, meeting with a group of youth pastors, somehow the conversation turned to age & i quickly realized that i was the oldest one there.  not an easy pill to swallow…

taking some time to deal with that disappointment i then had one of those important “ahhaaa” moments…

Jesus also had missed perceptions all around Him: why He was here & what He was supposed to be doing.  many thought that He had come to physically take over the throne, remove the Roman Government & re-establish Israel as a nation “set apart”, in a physical way.  instead, Jesus’ conversation about “the Kingdom” was not as much about government as it was about who was leading and directing your life personally & then how that spilled out into your daily lives with others.

i’ve also begun thinking about something i’ve heard in a number of different settings.  this remembering caused me to think through some things i’ve heard:

“reality IS perception”

not an untrue statement, but it comes with qualifiers & an understanding of what’s really going on.

here’s what I think is meant by this statement.

when we see something happening [good or bad] we draw conclusions & look to see how it impacts us.  when we see something new it can remind us of something we’ve seen before.  that’s really how our brain works, try and fit new info./experiences into what we’ve already seen/done; & we draw new conclusions based on past info. or experiences.  in many cases when we see something that looks familiar we often don’t entirely take in the new thing.  instead, we see something that we think we’ve seen before & jump to the end without all of the info.  not an uncommon practice, & we’re all guilty of landing in the wrong place based on little or no information; this is a very human experience.


so, when the reality that we see in front of us is shaped by past experiences, compounded by a lack of current data we land our decisions & conclusions in places that don’t always reflect the true reality of the situation we’re viewing.

all of that sounds somewhat heady & even confusing.  alas, there is light at the end of the tunnel.


Can we be honest with ourselves for a moment?

i don’t think it’s unfair to say that everyone of us, from time to time, viewed something that we were sure we understood; only to come & find out that we were dead wrong.  so our perception of the situation; which we thought was reality; was at best, just off base; and at worst downright destructive.

so here comes the question:


are the perceptions that you hold [about anything] creating difficulty in any relationships you have?

the problems may be yours or the other persons, but are difficulties present?

if so, are you doing anything about reconciling the problem?  if not, why?


let’s bring it around to church…

are your perceptions about church; what it should look like, how it should sound, what should happen on a sunday morning, etc; creating difficulty for you in worship?  …connection with God? …relating to the community?


we’ve already admitted that our perceptions are sometimes off-base.  and I don’t think that i’m really all that different than the jewish people in 1st century life that had wrong ideas about why Jesus was on earth.

i recently heard a theologian say this: “i’m at the place in my life that i realize that about 70% of what i know is wrong, i just don’t know what 70%.”

at first glance 70% sounds like a lot!  and it sounds like this guy may be doubting his faith in Christ.  but I don’t think that’s what he’s getting at.  instead i really think that he’s willing to believe that what he has always known & believe may be, at best, off-base; and at worst, outright wrong.

this concept fits well with Jesus as He spent much of His time re-working the tradition & ritual of jewish life.  and I think that’s what He’s trying to do in my life…

…in your life.


so, be aware that the perception you have may not be a realistic picture of what’s really going on in your life, in the lives of others & that God is willing to meet you in that struggle.