Misperception Problem

This past Sunday, I preached on the power of perception from the story of Elisha and the chariots of fire in 2 Kings 6.  Right perception leads to right beliefs and emotions.  Some suffer from ill feelings because of a misperception of reality, and some are confronted with a barrier to faith because of a lack of perception.  The Bible says that judgment can be a passive withholding of correct perception so that we become our own demise.  Seeking the right perception of reality, like seeking wisdom, puts us in touch with the truths of reality.  As one of my mentors said, “perception always wins over reality” when it comes to people’s reactions.  But as I continued to ponder on the cruciality of perception, I was perplexed by a problem: what does a person do when he/she has the wrong perception and doesn’t realize it?  Within that person’s perception, he/she won’t automatically realize he/she possesses a misperception.  It’s like trying to explain to a fish that it’s in water.  It can be a frustrating, enigmatic problem.  But there is a solution.  I think two things will help a person who doesn’t perceive rightly.  The person will need a third person party to begin granting feedback to the one with the wrong perception.  Challenging our perceptions is often needed.  Having someone offer insight and reflect a different perception helps us to “see” things in a different way and to begin to at least consider the alternative possibilities.  Without the third person intervention, we’re stuck in our own first person perspective.  The other crucial factor I believe is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is a master of the soul, who can enlighten a person’s mind towards certain realizations.  Wrong perceptions are frequently like a walled-in bondage of our minds that seems impossible to break out of.  Often times, the Holy Spirit is the most and final crucial factor where he can evoke changes in a person that no third person party can do.  What we need is supernatural intervention and illumination.  In the end, however, the critical matter for someone to receive these solutions is the person to do one thing – listen.  Only a person who is willing to listen will create the opportunity to attain a new perception.  For the person trapped in a misperception, this is the first thing he/she can do: be in a listening spirit.  And if a person were an active listener, he/she might even take the initiative to seek out other people’s perspectives.

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