Archive for the ‘Understanding’ Tag

Through Other Eyes   Leave a comment

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If you have ever had the opportunity to spend significant time with a person from a different culture, it can truly be a perspective changing experience.  I have had a few of these great opportunities in my life so far.  Both last year and this year, I have had the privilege of serving as a host to young men from a European country.  Each of the young men have lived with me (one is currently living in my home).  It is a great delight for me to hear about their native countries and to have them share their perspectives on life in this country, the events of the world, and upon life in general.  These young men are truly amazing individuals and have helped me to grow.

I was thinking this morning what a great value it is to at times look through the eyes of others. I find that it is very easy for me to view life from only my perspective.  When I do this, I have a limited understanding of life and individuals that I encounter.  I easily become judgmental and make judgments quickly.  It is only when I try to understand life from a different angle that I am able to be more open, understanding, and caring.  When you realize that not everyone experiences life exactly like you experience it, you are open to new possibilities.  You also gain the ability to have empathy.  You may still not agree with the other person’s perspective but you can at least have a greater understanding of the basis of that perspective and can respect where it comes from.

My challenge for you this week is try to look at life through someone else’s eyes.  You may discover a much different world.


Perception versus Reality   1 comment

One of the most difficult challenges that can exist for leaders and organizations is the struggle between perception and reality.  Sometimes

English: Object of perception in psychology

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

perceptions are accurate and align with reality.  Frequently this is not the case and perceptions are not close to reality.  Humans have a tendency to take a small bit of information and extrapolate  from that small amount what they perceive to be the whole.  This is when many times perception and reality become misaligned.


When this occurs, the challenge for the leaders of the group is to sort out between what are accurate perceptions and knowledge, and what is solely perception without a basis of facts.  Why this is so important is because the approach to dealing with the situation is different if you are dealing solely with perceptions or if you are dealing with realities.  If unsubstantiated perceptions exist, the leader must devote time and energy to providing information and knowledge to help others adjust their perceptions.  If there is a situation based on realities then there needs to be adjustments by the leaders to address the situation.


Perceptions can be one of the most difficult things to adjust.  Many times when accurate information is shared with individuals, they may still be reluctant to adjust their perceptions.  The longer a perception exists, the harder it is to adjust.  In addition to the length of time a perception has existed, there are many other factors that influence the perception.  Some of these can include an individual’s experiences in the past, the personalities involved, the impact that an adjusting of the perception will have on the person, and the willingness of the person to accept the new information being presented.


Throughout time people have struggled with this challenge of perception versus reality.  One prime example was when most of humanity perceived the earth to be flat.  It took a very long time and the presenting of a lot of information before people would adjust their perceptions that the earth was round.  Or what about the debate regarding the earth revolving around the sun or the sun revolving around the earth.  People were kicked out of the church during these battles of perception versus reality.


The battle between these to aspects of life will not go away.  Leaders and organizations will continually have to engage in this conflict.  So leaders must continually work on providing information that will help people for


accurate perceptions.


Not Alone   Leave a comment

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not alone and we have others who understand us.  Most times we need to be reminded that the Lord is always there to carry us when we need it.  Steven Curtis Chapman said it the best in this song, “When You Are A Soldier”


Limits   2 comments


Fence (Photo credit: Mariia Kravtsova I EamArt)

What limits me?  Today, this is a question that is rattling around in my mind.  I have been looking at a passage from the Bible this week that talks about our freedom in Christ.  (See Colossians 2:6-15)  This has caused me to consider what I have allowed to limit my freedom.  Another way of considering this might be, what holds me back?

I think lots of times societal pressures, peer pressure, and religious pressure limit us from becoming who we have the potential to be. Perceptions and understandings have a huge impact on shaping who a person becomes and how the individual lives life.  Sometimes those perceptions and understandings are placed upon the person by others, i.e., society, friends, colleagues, family, religious leaders, and sometimes those are placed upon the person by him or herself.

The stumbling block in all this, as I see it, is that perceptions and understandings can be wrong.  We are all born with a very basic understanding of right and wrong which is the basis for our interpretation of life.  People can usually agree that murder is wrong. People often concur that stealing is wrong.  However, when we get beyond the basic right and wrongs of life, all the rest depends on interpretation and understandings.  The challenge is that those interpretations and understandings change over time.

So all of this brings me back to the question of what limits am I placing on myself or allowing others to place upon me.  Limits are a necessary part of life because they help me to stay within reasonable bounds.  However, if the limits that are in my life are based on outdated or inaccurate perceptions and understandings, then I need to be very clear about whether I should retain those limits in my life.

My question for you today is what is limiting you?  Should you continue you to allow it to limit you?  These are questions I know I will wrestle with as well.

Speak My Language   1 comment



One of the pitfalls that many organizations and leaders encounter is that they forget they have to speak the language of the people.  It is very easy when you are part of organization to fall into using your own lingo and endless number of acronyms.  If another person is part of the organization then they understand completely what you are communicating but if the person is an outsider than the communication falls apart.  The connection is then lost outside the organization so if you are in business, you lose a sell; if you are a nonprofit organization, you lose a potential new member.  There is nothing that is more frustrating than people talking and you cannot understand a word that is being said.




As a believer, this coming Sunday is an important Sunday in the Christian calendar.  This Sunday is Pentecost, the celebration of the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the personal lives of believers and the launch of what would be come known as the Church.  So I was reading this week about how that event was recorded in the Bible.  The portion of the passage that stuck in my mind this morning was:




All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.  Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?  Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome  (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”  Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”  (Acts 2:4-12, NIV)


For me, it means the Lord got what I am discussing in this post.  The Lord understood that it was important for the message to be shared in the language the people understood.  This is a vital lesson for leaders and organizations.




If we are not speaking in the language of the people, then our message will not be received.  If people do not understand us, then they will become frustrated and ignore us.  After all, don’t we all want others to speak our language?



Language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Point of the Lesson   2 comments

Shot of a bible with a very small depth of fie...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have recently had a few conversations about the role of the Bible.  So many people have different thoughts about what the Bible means, how to read the Bible, what role the Bible should have in our faith and in our lives.  Some people view it as a rule book.  Others want the Bible to be a history book.  Still others want the Bible to be a really neat collection of stories.  So I decided today to share my understanding of the Bible and its role in our lives.

I think that the primary purpose of the Bible is to communicate this:  God wants to be in relationship with us and God wants us to be in relationship with one another.  Therefore, I believe that the Bible is intended to helps us understand what it means to be in relationship with God and with one another.  The guiding principle behind all aspects of those relationships is love.

If that is what the Bible is intended to do for us, then I believe that it is best to look at the Bible as being a combination of stories, poetry, some historical facts, and many illustrations.  They are all used to communicate the primary point mentioned above.  This would be like when an educator is trying to help a student understand a point.  They will design a lesson(s) and use various methods to communicate the point to the student in the anticipation that through these methods the student will be able to grasp and apply the point in their lives.

Therefore, I find it helpful to read a passage of the Bible and ask, “What is the point that this passage is trying to make?”  Then quickly follow that with, “How does that point give more understanding to the primary point of the Bible?”

I’d be interested in how others view this approach and any other approaches others may take in their understanding of the Bible.