Ferguson. A multitude of stories flood my news feeds. An array of emotions scatter across. There is no shortage of opinions that ignite or inspire. Among all the words shared is something called perspective. As readers, we decide whose perspectives we want to take in. What will we do with it?
Perspective in this sense is a point of view.
The interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed. – merriam-webster.com
How do we wrestle with the ways in which man’s corrupt heart begets more corruption? How do we perceive our lives in light of these things?
I tend to listen, consider and pray more than talk or write. Maybe there will be a time to do so, but it is not now. At least not yet.
I have asked a friend to help me understand Ferguson from her perspective as a black woman. I’d like to share my limited understanding with her and learn together. With a grace-filled discussion we can wrestle with the ways of man that forget the ways of God.
My mind tends to simplify all the issues of this world. The way I see it, they all come down to the heart, to the fallen state of man in desperate need of a redeeming Savior. Our world, our ways and our perceptions get warped with our distorted visions. We fall short.
I wish we’d all fall into His arms.
I stated this before, and I’ll state it again because I think it applies to most of us. I tend to process life through lenses blurred with emotion and etched with self. Perhaps we all do. Certainly, clearer vision would help us to love and live as Christ followers.
I get that the issues of Ferguson are far more complicated than I know, but ultimately how we understand and respond to the evils of this world is affected by what is rooted in our hearts.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45
Hearts focused on self, as all of ours often are, respond with hatred, bitterness, and the presupposition that our thoughts are the right thoughts. Our ways are the right ways.
Hearts rooted in the truths of Christ seek out His good among the most evil in this world. How we get to His truths and what we understand of it may look different, but in the end His truths supersede the distortions of our prowling enemy.
The enemy seeks to cause division, strife and dissension. Our Savior asks us to seek Him in the midst.
What if, in seeing our need for redemption we saw Him in the rubble? What if we saw how He rose alive and how His power to rise above the mess is with us today?
What if we considered this definition:
the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance – merriam-webster.com
This phrase sticks out to me, “in their true relations.” How can we view things in their true relation without being affected by emotion and our fallen points of view? Where does truth come from? Whose view is true? Ours or Christ’s?
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. – Proverbs 30:5
During our time at “the ranch” (when we fostered many children) we endured extreme stress for an extended period of time. Frequently I felt I couldn’t take one physical step further because I was so overly exhausted. I shared with someone that our marriage was near collapsing, that I was really struggling and that I needed help. The response I received was, “Oh, it’s really all a matter of perspective. So-and-so is single and she has eleven kids. You can do it.”
Yeah, not helpful y’all. Not helpful at all. Can we say comparison? Definitely not a way to encourage others. Certainly not what I would recommend saying to anyone with regards to Ferguson, or any other social injustice.
These words claimed that my perspective just needed to change. However, this message of comparison was filtered through a fundamental distortion. The underlying premise was that if one person could do one thing, another could do the same or more. However, it doesn’t take into account a myriad of other factors. It certainly didn’t take into account God’s truths.
God’s perspective is quite different. He responds quite differently when we take our cares, our hurts and our struggles to Him. How about these words for example?
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
When injustices of all kinds occur I tend to shy away from sharing my thoughts because I’m afraid of being wrong. I want to have the right perspective, God’s. I’m concerned that my sight is too limited and therefore I may not take enough points into consideration. I fear being misunderstood. So for now, I ask and I listen.
I long to prompt consideration of our messy lives, the state of our brokenness and the deep need we all have to trust our very good God. If I do write and my views fall short in compassion or consideration, I’d like to hear from others, graciously, as they add to the conversation.
I don’t presume to have it all figured out and quite frankly, neither does anyone else.
When it comes to perception, sometimes it’s less about our point of view. Sometimes its more about our capacity to view things in relation to God’s truths.
Sometimes we just need to listen and learn.
In the end, we’re all a mess in need of a Savior.