Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Matter of Perspective

In beginning art classes, instructors sometimes assign "upside down drawing" exercises. They take a drawing, turn it upside-down, and have students copy it.

The point of upside-down drawing is that it forces us to abandon our preconceived ideas of what eyes, ears, or noses look like and just copy the lines in front of us. We're drawing what we see instead of what we think we see.

When I taught the women's class at my church a few Sundays ago, I brought a sketch of a cat and asked everybody do this. Afterward someone approached me, amazed because she swore she wasn't artistic but her drawing turned out beautifully!

Which was exactly the point of my lesson: changing your perspective often helps you to see something a lot more clearly.

We may not be able to understand other people, but we can always love them. And if you're finding it particularly difficult to love someone, the problem might be your perspective.   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

We're all told to love others. The scriptures say to "love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22: 39,) "love your enemies" (Matthew 5: 44,) and "love one another, even as I [Jesus Christ] have loved you" (John 15: 12.)

But it's sometimes really hard to love others, especially people who are different from us. People who talk, act, or think in ways that are totally backward.

It reminds me of a funny story about someone from my church listening to her 4-year-old daughter  watching TV in the other room. When the little girl complained loudly, "Mom, that chicken is weird" she went in to see what was on TV. "Honey," she said after a minute, "That chicken is a peacock."

Usually when we deal with other people, we don't have all the facts. We can't possibly know all the reasons why someone else acts or believes the way they do.

We may not be able to understand them, but we can always love them. And if you're finding it particularly difficult to love someone, the problem might be your perspective.

If you've ever had a teenager or been one, you'll know how fond they can be of positioning themselves nanometers away from the mirror and fixating on a single zit on their forehead. They can stare at an ugly blemish so closely and for so long that it comes to define their entire being  at least, in their own mind.

Unfortunately we can sometimes be like that with other people that get on our nerves, looking so close-up at the flaw that irritates us until it seems like there's nothing there except for that one thing that drives us crazy.

If you know anyone like that, and we all do, my advice would be to step back a little. The laser-like focus on that person's flaw (or flaws) isn't going to give us a very accurate picture of who they really are.

If we step back, way back, then our perspective changes. Hopefully we can see the whole person, including their good qualities, and even if not, we can take another giant step back and remember that God loves that person more than we can even imagine.

In art, "perspective" is defined as: 

representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other.
Can I just emphasize the "in relation to each other" part?

The most important thing to remember is that the very same God who loves you infinitely also loves that exasperating other person just as much.

Understanding this very important truth, that God loves each of us the most, and that nothing anyone says or does can make God love him less than the most, is the key to loving even the most difficult and unlovable person we meet.

And maybe we can even learn something from people who are maddeningly different from us  that's usually the way it goes.

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6 comments:

  1. Great post Jenny. I love that idea of drawing upside down and seeing from a different perspective. FHE idea right there!

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    1. Can you believe I didn't even think of that? Boom. Our Monday night is planned now.

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  2. Thanks so much, Jenny!! I'm working on this right now! The loving people part, not the drawing upside down!

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