Read This Week’s Passage: James 1:9–18

When Perceptions Lie to Us

There is an interesting phenomenon in couples, in which the same pattern of slight disagreements seems to arise. The wife will be telling a story and mention that they left a restaurant at 5:00 p.m. No, the husband will argue, it was at least 5:15; she disagrees, certain that it was 5:00. To the listeners, this detail is unimportant, but it becomes vital to those telling the story because they’re both certain that their perception of the situation was correct. When the stakes are higher—for example, when two people disagree on what the other said out of anger—the tension intensifies. If someone can’t trust their own perception of what happened, whose can they trust?

Humanity defaults to trusting self from an early age. Born with a natural inclination to selfishness and self-reliance, we can stop this trend only by Divine intervention and dependence. Despite our noble intentions for honesty, integrity, and clear vision, it’s easy for us to be confused by the false narratives shared by media, peers, and our selfish nature. It’s hard to distrust our own (learned or natural) perception of reality and trust God’s instead. The irony is that humanity’s natural perception of reality is wrong, in more ways than one. While we are learning self-distrust, it is essential to learn God-trust. Only then can we see clearly.