Sunday, May 2, 2010
The word perspective is a derivative of the Latin word, perspicere- per means 'through', and spicere means 'to look'. As my daughter is looking through her camera lens in the photo above, she sees one thing while I am looking through my lens and see something else. Both of us are in the same place at the same time, yet our perspective is different (click here to see my daughter's photo gallery:http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicolemulligan).
Yesterday, something very bad happened to someone close to me. To keep him anonymous, we will call this young man "Kevin". Kevin is living on his own for the first time and is sharing a room with some college students. He is on his own journey attempting to discover what he wants to do with his life. He was out late when someone knocked at the door. His room-mate thought it was Kevin and opened the door to five armed robbers.
Kevin is hard-headed and bench presses about 330 pounds. Had he been home, he would have fought the men and probably been killed. Kevin retold the story of the robbery from his room-mate's perspective and described the perpetrators using negative connotations. His language revealed a prejudice to all people who share the same skin color as the intruders.
After listening to Kevin's story, I cautioned him not to judge an entire race because of this small group. This is the same mistake I made when I chose to hate everyone from Iran just because the radicals I saw on TV were burning our flag and calling Americans the "Great Satan".
When I began to meet people who fled Iran and listened to their stories about torture from their government, my perspective changed. Some of these people are now very good friends. They have lost parents and siblings because of their political views. They left friends behind and now have lower paying jobs. They are looked down upon by people in our country because they look like terrorists. They felt the pain of seeing innocent Americans being killed by extremists on 9/11. They call themselves Americans today, even though they will never be fully accepted by others based on their looks.
Each of us has our own perspective. The best perspective of all comes from our Creator. It hurts Him when He sees us fighting each other based on the color of our skin or what particular faith we belong to.
I told Kevin that the five African-American males that robbed his place may have been jealous of the future that these college students have. It is very likely that these robbers grew up in the absence of father figures. Most people join gangs because they want to belong. Regardless of your own political perspective, it is good for minorities to see a president who looks like them. This gives young people hope that they can belong in a world that accepts people regardless of skin color.
I pray that Kevin and his room-mates are protected from evil and that they learn to see the world from God's perspective. As long as there is evil in our world, each of us will have our own perspective and we will fight over which point of view is the right one. We will never be one people until we learn God's perspective...