David McClellan | I had a thought about truth and perception that I would like to share. We say that there are eternal truths but what exactly are they? A lot of our own truth comes from our perception, what we see or believe.
I will give you an example. 4.5% of the world population is colorblind. I, in fact, am one of this 4.5%. The picture below showed up in a movie and I recognized it immediately as one of those pictures that I don’t like too much because I cannot see anything in it.
My perception, and my truth, is that there isn’t anything there. Does that make me wrong? I don’t think so. I can’t see it. In my reality it is just a bunch of colored dots grouped together. My whole family argues with me that there is something there, but I can’t see it. I can’t begin to imagine what they’re saying is true. I just have to rely on their word that there is something there. I have to trust them. I have to listen carefully to what they’re telling me. If I listen very carefully, and look at the image for a long time, with what they told me in mind, I can eventually make out little teeny bit of shading that are in the picture.
As members of the church who have LGBTQ+ kids we see something that other church members can’t see. To us it’s as plain as day, but to them they can’t see it. We get frustrated and try to argue that it really is there, but like me and that picture, they can’t see it. It is virtually impossible to get them to see it until they are willing to listen and consider that there may be a different, and valid, point of view.
Most people have their beliefs because of what they have been taught or some kind of emotional experience. Factual talking points are good, but they don’t reach a lot of people because they are emotionally detached. The only way to reach them is through some emotional connection. If there is an emotional connection we are more likely to try to understand and then “believe” someone’s point of view. I think the way to gain this emotional connection is through love, listening, and respect. When we listen with love and respect, our perspectives, world views, and charity for others will be expanded. We will see the pains and struggles of others and have greater capabilities for compassion. My wife thinks that the only question that God will ask us after we die is, “How did you treat the people who crossed your path during your life?”
If we can’t see the suffering and pains of others, we cannot have compassion. We cannot fulfill our duty to God, which is actually only to love and help others. We need to be able to see with our hearts, not just our eyes. I just try to remind myself that what is plain to me, may be completely invisible to others.
(Please feel free to apply this analogy to many other things as well, because it can apply to so many other situations.)