This week, I re-listened to an older podcast on NPR’s TED Radio Hour called The Five Senses. The whole talk is almost an hour-long, and even though it’s a few years old, it’s incredibly relevant today. The part that stuck out to me the most was about sight. If you’re interested in hearing the podcast, click here. The part I’m referencing is around the 20-minute mark.
The core of what the host talks about is that we use our sight to construct how we view everything throughout the day. However, we rarely understand how much our emotions, experiences, and pasts fabricate what we see. The host continued by explaining that what we see is a unique personal virtual reality masterfully constructed by our brain. Neuroscience proves that based upon what we see, we create our reality, and because sight takes up so much space in our brains, vision dominates our other senses and mental capacities.
However, sight is an illusion.
The speaker continues to break down sight as I had never heard before. He explained that sight takes up 1/3 of our brain in volume and claims 2/3 of our brain’s processing power, and because of this demand, sight is our most compelling sense. However, our photoreceptor cells respond to only about 1/ten trillionth of the spectrum of light available. We then construct a scenario from that little bit of information that then implicates our opinions, memories, and emotions.
Simply put..we never see the whole picture.
Makes sense, right? If you ever had the luck to find a $100 bill on the street, chances are, you’re going to subconsciously look for another $100 bill again when you walk down a street. The same could be said for emotions, such as pain or joy. If you’ve experienced these emotions, often there’s a good chance that you’re looking for them in conversations, relationships, and general life situations.
So, if I don’t see the true reality around me, what else am I not seeing clearly?
The Old Testament is filled with stories about God revealing His plan to His people at just the right time. God’s vision supersedes our vision every time.
- Daniel 10 – Daniel Prepares Himself for God’s Vision
- 2 Chronicles 20 – Jehoshaphat gains Confidence in the Midst of Chaos
- 2 Kings 6 – Elisha’s Spiritual Eyes are Opened for Victory
Later, in the New Testament, we learn that everyone Jesus encounters or becomes close to has something they are working through, struggling with, or are being defined by. Sound familiar? That’s all of us in a nutshell! We all struggle with how we see ourselves, our situations, our faith, and others. So, if we know our perception is skewed and a bit untrustworthy, what do we do?
Jesus says our default vision needs to be love.
When we look at people, we need to realize that we have no idea what is going on in their world. Their decisions and attitude may be excellent, or they may be poor, but we need to respond in love. Showing love for who they are now and the future work God is doing in them, and we can only do that with God’s vision in mind.
Our sight will fail us, but God never will.
I can’t think of a better week to put love in action. Half of our country is cheering and the other mourning. But love can pull us back together. The world always pays attention to a humble winner and a gracious loser. Choose to step into the vision God has for you, and people will see more clearly than ever that we are all in this together.
In His service and at yours!