Perception vs Reality

Sometimes we think we are right because we limit our access to the facts we need to make good decisions.  Paul found himself in perceptionthis situation.  As Saul stood at the stoning of Stephen he believed he was exactly where he should have been.  Saul did not have all the facts.  Saul had limited his thinking to his circle of fellowship.  He was raised to follow Moses law.  This was all he knew.  Stephen stood against his perception of Moses law.  As a result of Paul not having access to Christ covenant he made a poor determination of doctrine.  Overseeing the stoning of Stephen passed several important tests in Saul’s mind.  
     Saul’s action passed the test of conscience.  It certainly did not offend the conscience of Saul.  Saul’s action passed the test of context since the context of Saul’s knowledge was built around the teaching of the day in Moses law.  Saul had considered no context outside his fellowship bubble.  Saul’s action passed the test of peer approval.  Since Saul was limiting his fellowship to other Jews who saw religion exactly like Saul saw religion his peers approved his action.  His circle of fellowship accepted Saul’s action since they met these predetermined rules; therefore these rules became the standard.
       If we limit our influence to the preset standards of our circle of fellowship we run the risk that our perception of reality could be skewed.  We have determined in our circle of fellowship that the only hermeneutics that are acceptable to God are command, example, and necessary inference.  Is this a way to interpret Scripture? It certainly is.  Is this the hermeneutical process inspired by God?  I think we know that it is not.  We have accepted this process because it has historical precedent and it helps us prove our predetermined doctrine.
      The danger we find ourselves in is simple.  When we limit our influence and study to only those who are in our fellowship bubble we run the risk of finding ourselves in the same position the ladies in my class found themselves.  Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
       We find many in the Churches of Christ with a dangerous perception.  We often have the perception, “We have arrived, and we have the truth.  If you don’t see everything as I see it you are wrong.”  We only fellowship those who have arrived at the conclusions and hold the same doctrines we hold.”  Not only is this self-righteous and arrogant.  It is dangerous and as Paul stated, “Unwise.”  May we ever hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Let us continue to strive to be correct in all that we do.  May God guide and give us strength in all we do.

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3 Responses to Perception vs Reality

  1. muddypuddles says:

    Excellent post! Dennis

  2. Jan says:

    Very good! May we NEVER stop growing in Christ. We need to study for ourselves instead of depending on others to tell us what to believe.

  3. Don says:

    It is impossible to have unity (with diversity) if uniformity is the standard. Thanks for your words. Blessings, Don

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