A famous writer was in his study. He picked up his pen and began writing:
Last year, my gallbladder was removed. I was stuck in bed due to this surgery for a long time.
The same year I reached the age of 60 and had to give up my favorite job. I had spent 30 years of my life with this publishing company.
The same year I experienced the death of my father.
In the same year, my son failed in his medical exam because he had a car accident. He had to stay in the hospital with a cast on his leg for several days. And, the destruction of the car was a second loss.”
His concluding statement: “Alas! It was such a bad year!!”
When the writer’s wife entered the room, she found her husband looking dejected, sad and lost in his thoughts.
She carefully and surreptitiously read what he had written, silently left the room and came back shortly with another piece of paper on which she had written her summary of the year’s events, placing it beside her husband’s paper.
When her husband saw that she had written something in response to his account of the year’s events, he read:
“Last year I finally got rid of my gallbladder which had given me many years of pain.
I turned 60 with sound health and retired from my job. Now I can utilize my time to write better and with more focus and peace.
The same year, my father, at the age of 95 without depending on anyone and without any critical conditions, met his Creator.
The same year, God blessed my son with life. My car was destroyed, but my son was alive and without permanent disability.”
At the end she wrote: “This year was an immense blessing and it passed well!!”
The same incidents but different perspectives.
Isn’t it amazing how our views of reality can be so divergent? It is as if we all see the world through a different lens.
Scott Peck, in his best-selling book The Road Less Traveled, says that our view of reality is like a map that helps you navigate the terrain of life. He says:
If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost.
What I find in the work I do is that many men are living with the wrong maps. They end up with a view of life that is false and end up terribly lost.
For modern people, it is easy to develop false ideas about what it means to lead a successful life. How do you measure success? And what is real wealth? Is it all about money and possessions? And for so many men, we are trying to figure out “What is true masculinity?” How do you measure manhood? And who do we look to for answers to these questions?
Jesus addresses this issue in Luke 11:34-36.
The lamp of your body is your eye; when your eye is clear, your whole body is also full of light; but when it is bad, your body is also full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you may not be darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it shall be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.
For years I would read these passages and had no idea what Jesus was talking about. One day I decided to do some research, and after consulting with a Greek scholar, I learned that the word “eye” is your perception of reality. It is the lens through which you see life. Some call it a paradigm or worldview. The word we most often use to describe this is “perspective.”
Jesus is telling us our perspective can be rooted in what is true or what is false. If it is rooted in the truth you will have the right map and your life will be full of light and vibrancy. It leads to your well-being.
On the other hand, if it is rooted in falsehood your map will be untrue. Your life will be full of darkness and you will not only be lost, but will stumble, struggle and eventually fall.
Then, in verse 35, Jesus says to watch out and make sure that the light you think you have is not darkness. In other words, it is very easy to think you have life figured out and that your map is accurate, only to find that your perception of reality is false. Unfortunately, most people do not figure this out until their life becomes a train wreck.
How have you developed your perspective on life? What has had the greatest influence on your map and your view of reality? Jesus makes it clear that it must be rooted in the truth of God’s word. It is only then that you will find yourself heading in the direction that will lead to your ultimate good and well-being.
To read more by Richard E. Simmons, please go to our online bookstore at www.thecenterbham.org