What’s Your Perspective?
— By Andy Wade —
She was clearly caught in adultery. The law said she could be stoned to death. The mob gathered and brought her to Jesus. If you were in the crowd that day, what’s your perspective? We all come at life situations from different angles. Rather than celebrate the different perspectives, we often become entrenched, not realizing there might be a different way of viewing the situation, or worse, thinking our perspective is the only legitimate one. This leads to misunderstanding and conflict.
We’ve all been there. We’ve been the rigid one and we’ve been the flexible one. Jesus’ response is both telling and challenging. Rather than applying the rigid law, which was pretty clear on the matter, Jesus ties their response to relationship; our relationship with God and our relationship with one another. “You who are without sin, cast the first stone.”
Sin. We all have it in our lives. Ultimately sin reflects our relationship with God. It also reflects our broken relationships with our neighbors. Perhaps this is part of what Jesus was getting at when he reminded his followers to love God and love others. Jesus forced the crowds to have a second look, a view from a different perspective.
Recently I ran across a great article about photography (my life-long passion) and “point-of-view”. We need to get up and move around. We need to look at the subject from all different angles, watching how the light plays off the subject and the background, paying attention to how different details emerge as we move from our typical, standing position. The sage (below) was rather bland taken against the mountains. I couldn’t see the amazing twists in the grain and the beauty of the context until I moved from where I was standing and began to explore from different angles.
While I highly recommend the article, it also got my mind stirring about other areas of life. We have our typical way of approaching various situations and we often see what we expect to see – – then we move on. “How often”, I mused, “do we miss the beauty, the wonder and glory of God, because we see from only one perspective, make our mental assessment, and move on?” “How often do we evaluate another’s sin or brokenness from a ‘right or wrong’ perspective, ignoring the persons involved, the relationships, and our invitation to enter into “Christ reconciling all things to himself.” How can we become “ambassadors of reconciliation” if we are only able to see from one particular vantage point? Wandering further down this path I wondered, “What are the spiritual and relational (not that they can be separated) implications of living life in such a way?”
Here at Mustard Seed Associates, we want to be an incubator of Christian imagination. When you experience art, truly enter into it, you discover not only the piece, but also a bit of the imagination required to get to that place. The sculptor who sees the finished work in a block of stone or mound of clay, the painter before an empty canvas, the composer hearing layer upon layer of sounds perfectly woven into a musical masterpiece, the photographer who walks all around her subject, views it from close up to far away, high and low, to uncover just the right perspective to reveal the power of an image. This is the imagination at work. This is the creative approach to life that stirs emotion, cultivates the heart, and unlocks the mind. It’s the image of God’s own imagination which created some animals with two legs, some with four, six, or even one hundred. It’s the image of God’s own imagination which gave wings to birds – even those that don’t actually fly — and gills to fish.
As all creation shouts “glory to God”, I wonder, do I truly honor God’s image in myself when I limit my point of view to one perspective? Perhaps I need to move around a bit more, explore the angles. Not in some attempt to justify a lifestyle that nurtures broken relationships, hyper-individualism, or other forms of sin. But so that by viewing the different angles I can discover just how God’s light is already being reflected in those situations. When I open my eyes and imagination in this way I discover that by even desiring to pass judgment I must recognize my own guilt. The image of God’s own imagination is stirred within me as I begin to see that restoration and healing spring not from privatizing another’s sin, as if it’s unique to them, but by entering with them into God’s abundant mercy. Walking together as sinners alive because of the sacrifice, the imagination, the creative perspective and response of God.
What do you think? What’s your perspective?