Posts Tagged ‘perceiving’

We May Listen But Not Understand

October 18, 2016

To you have been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’  –Jesus

I have tried blocking political stuff from my social media feeds so that I can see what people are doing in peace. But it seems to be inescapable.

That part that does slip through has no (as in none) information that is truthful or enlightening. There is no probing into issues or how candidates would actually carry the country forward or represent it to the world. The untruths, half-truths twisted one way or another, character assassinations drive me to drink (well, not really, but I wish).

I’ve been studying the words of Jesus lately. Sort of “red-letter Christian” if you will. Early in Mark, he is recorded in the explanation above. “So that they may indeed listen, but not understand.”

Do you feel like that describes discourse in America today?

We aren’t alone in that in the world, unfortunately. Because I cover manufacturing technology globally, I must become familiar with the situation globally. Many other countries suffer from the same dilemma.

Hmmm. Sounds as if this is a human condition–not simply an American one.

And that was where Jesus operated. He probed deeper than politics. Remember the Roman coin question? He probed into what we call the heart. In that day, instead of heart, they talked about the gut. As in, when something bad happens, we say we “got hit in the gut” (abdomen below the rib cage). That is really where we feel emotions. I think that word brings the meaning home more than the word heart, which has become so sanitized and romanticized over the centuries.

Jesus was concerned with us as individual people. He’s concerned with the way we conduct political discourse. He’s concerned with the way we conduct any discourse.

Are we indeed looking but not perceiving? Listening but not understanding? Or as he said later, “He who has ears, let him hear.”

Acting On What I Know

October 8, 2014

Paul, in one of his most complex yet simple passages, talked about how he found himself doing what he knew he shouldn’t be doing.

Every once in a while I perceive a person or situation and get a strong feeling that something isn’t quite right but then proceed to get involved anyway. It has happened in business a few times. I know that there is something wrong with the person I’m dealing with or the situation is too vaguely defined, yet I do what I know I shouldn’t do.

That just happened to me yet again. I knew better, but for a few emotional reasons, continued on. Then it didn’t end well.

Sometimes that feeling occurs in ethical situations. Or relational ones. I know that I shouldn’t go there. Or say yes to someone. But I do it.

I guess while pondering this, I don’t feel alone. If someone with the stature of Paul could struggle like this, then I’m not abnormal.

The key thing is that we reflect on those circumstances. Then we learn to recognize as quickly as possible the mistake and take immediate moves to correct the course.

Ending relationships, even dysfunctional ones, is always the toughest. No parting is smooth. But many are necessary. Looking back over the past 20 years of my life, I can see where the temporary tension of leaving an unhealthy relationship contributed to my health and growth.

Perceive, recognize, act.