14 October, 2005

Funny How You See What You Want To See

Warning... This Post is Not About Baseball!!!

This play from Tuesday night will be debated for years to come, especially if the White Sox win the ALCS. I have talked with people who insist that they can see the ball hit the dirt. I have seen people on television insist it hit the dirt. But they have shown it over and over from every possible angle, with the picture magnified and it seems clear, and now most of the "experts" agree that the ball was cleanly caught. Still, there are those who just insist that on their television they saw it bounce. My point in this post is not to argue the call one way or another. For goodness sake, I don't even care which of those teams makes the World Series! But there is a nugget from all this that I want to talk about. Isn't it funny how we see what we want to see?

One person sees a hurricane rip through Mississippi and New Orleans and to them that is just proof that there is no God. Another person sees this same event as proof that there is. One person see's the complexities of the human body and the earth and all of creation as proof of God. Another views the same thing and says that this is evidence that there is no God.
Just this week I spoke with a woman who witnessed the birth of her grandchild and she said, "Pastor, even though I have given birth to my own children, when I watched with my own eyes the miracle of birth, it showed me even more that God is real." Yet, I have heard others argue that the process of conception and birth prove the order of natural selection and that there is no creator.
I am convinced that it is not a matter of perception as much as it is the way we choose to perceive things.

In my life, even though I grew up in church, I was so angry because my parents were taken from this world at such a young age, that I tried not to believe there was a God, or at best, if there was one, he was a mean spirited god who I did not want to know. From about the age of 14, I chose to ignore God. And in many ways it worked. There were moments where he broke into my life, but for the most part, I chose to block him out of my life. I refused to acknowledge him, except when I wanted to blame him for something. Like when a friend of mine's mom died with cancer. I remember the day, sitting in Ponderosa with 3 of my best friends laughing and having fun as teens do, when all of a sudden this lady who went to our church came over to our table and chewed us out for our display of humor. Her reason, "Don't you know that Ruth just died? How dare you act like this when someone just died?" And on she went telling us what low-life's we were.
I recall two thoughts hitting me at the same time.
I thought:
1) Yeah, there you go God; take another good person out of this life early and leave her husband and kids to deal with the pain.
2) If this "super-saint" who just blasted us like this is front of an entire room full of people is what being a Christian is about, then I don't want any part of it!

I went through life with a chip on my shoulder and saw the world as a drab place.
The only real comfort I found was when I was partying with my friends.
I did not really see God in anything.
It was my choice.

Fast forward a few years...
I am 23 years old and I am in prison. It is early spring, and standing in the prison yard I find myself looking outside the fence at the small pond, the trees, the Canadian geese that approach the lake, and land upon the water and I think to myself, "God, you are so cool!" I had seen that same type scene maybe hundreds of times in my life, but this time when I saw it, I saw evidence of God.
Why? What made the difference?
I am quite sure it was my attitude.
Most of my life I chose to ignore God. I had made up my mind that he wasn't there or if he was he was not worth knowing about.
But then I had a personal encounter with Christ, and I began to get into the Bible for myself and I began making discoveries that change my view point and my attitude forever.

Over the years I have sat for hours and debated with folks about the existence of God, and they have argued with the same passion that he does not exist. I believe I have finally figured out that until a person chooses to see God, they never will.

It boils down to this: We see what we want to see.

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