One day on my morning walk/run, I glanced across the parking lot and saw a man somewhat casually standing at the back of a jeep. He wore a black jacket, jeans, and a hat, had his hands in his pockets, and appeared to be looking into the window as he leaned his shoulder against the back of the jeep.
Heart pounding, I kept walking to get a closer look at what he was doing before deciding what to do.
Good thing I did.
|The jeep in question is in the upper left of this picture.|
My morning eyes aren’t the greatest and I wear glasses for distance, but wow, I was so far off on this one I couldn’t believe it. Turned out to be a spare tire on the back of the jeep. Something in my mind caused me to see what wasn’t there. I wasn’t close enough to have the right perspective – my first glance was totally wrong.
The same type of misperception happened on two other occasions last week.
In the first, a very dear friend posted a comment on my blog that I misinterpreted and thought was “harsh”. My husband said he thought it was a very encouraging comment, which I realized was true when I read it from the perspective of knowing her heart for me.
The second was the way someone in my family handled a situation that I thought they should have handled differently. I let them know I was disappointed, thankfully in a nice way. When they explained why they did what they did, I realized I interpreted their actions totally wrong. Again, I didn’t have the right perspective and took something the wrong way.
In both instances, I overreacted to my “first glance” instead of taking time to get a closer look.
I didn’t take time to really think about what they said or did. I didn’t ask God for His perspective. Had I done either, I would have known the truth and avoided the sorrow of having judged both of them incorrectly.
Yes, lack of the right perspective caused me to make faulty judgments. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I put motives on them that weren’t there. For whatever reason, the words/actions initially hit me the wrong way and I overreacted. With a heavy heart, I apologized to both of them.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37, NIV)
Thankfully they both understood and accepted my apology. I learned once again that I need to think and pray before reacting, and take time to get the right perspective.