You can now take UCGEdmonton.org with you on your Smartphone. Goto: m.ucgedmonton.org

For webcast updates and other news, please follow us on Twitter @UCGEdmonton

Perspective
By: Robert Berendt (published April 23, 2015)

Each person on earth is unique in that nobody else has exactly the identical set of experiences, education, knowledge and ability. Everything that makes us who we are is also constantly changing so that we too change as the years pass by. All of our experiences give us a position from which we view the world and all that happens to us. We call that perspective. Though in some situations we may be quite similar, we each view the world with our unique "eyes" and react with what we comprehend and understand. That should tell us that we do not always see things as they really are, we see things as we want to see them, are led to see them, are persuaded to see them or are tricked into seeing them. Some say "rose coloured glasses" are worn at times.

Recently a beloved and famous man decided to end his own life because from his perspective, life was not worth living anymore. He was brilliant and eminently successful in the eyes of millions of people. There were signs that from his point of view, his own life was not worth living and he chose death rather than life. Sadly enough there are brain disorders that also play a part in suffering. That sort of choice is made by some who are young and beautiful, rich and famous, successful in every way that can be seen by others - as well as by those who are poor, failures in everything, unhealthy and viewed as having nothing to live for by others. In this world we have the poorest people who struggle and struggle just to live another day, week, month or year. We have the most desperately ill people fighting valiantly against sickness and disease that robs them of life. We have those who seem to have no future- but who struggle, fight, hope and endure the most discouraging periods of their lives - and who continue to live day by day. It sometimes takes a great deal more courage and strength to live than it does to die.

Making the decision that one's life is not worth living may be the result of some mental condition a person has - like depression, hopelessness, fear, panic or some deep seated belief that may see death by one's own hand as honourable. We saw evidence of this among the kamikaze pilots of the Second World War as well as the suicide bombers of today. In the midst of his great trouble Job expressed the wish that life would be over for him (Job. 14:13). Later, when all was well, he rejoiced that he was still alive. Most people wonder why a person who seems to have everything would choose not to live. Many who are struggling for life would gladly change places with those who want to die. All have their own perspective that drives them in one direction or another.

Our perspectives are subject to change. Sometimes the factors that make us change are out of our control and sometimes they are within our control. There are other factors such as the influence of others, the attraction of this world and its values, the desires that grow in us and drive us and a number of factors that are continually working on our lives. Along with all of that and perhaps combined with all of that is the attempt of Satan to deceive people and turn them against God (I Pet. 5:8). Many people do not want to believe there is such a being, but there are far too many unexplained prods and pulls towards evil to deny that some unseen power does not put an influence on a person. A person can battle with inner forces that may be destructive and make life seem not worth living for a long time and suddenly give in to the urge to end it all. A moment of insanity, the influence of drugs or alcohol often has something to do with a decision that is made. We can only suppose and wonder when we read about such a man as Robin Williams ending his life - but we can never know all that drove him and others like him.

What is your perspective about life? How do you define success and failure? What are the strong drivers within that make you rejoice in being alive or wish you were dead? How can a person define perspectives that are harmful and develop those that are healthy? What can be done to change a perspective from within and to prevent the wrong outer forces from changing our perspectives for us? There is no end to our questions because life itself changes and our perspectives change with them. We gain knowledge through study and need to discern between truth and error in that knowledge. Experiences change and shape our outlook and simple things like puberty, sexual attraction, frustrations that are real or imagined add to the list of things that make us who we are and change us at the same time. Added to that, our society has slipped from the strong moral moorings that gave some stability in bygone years. The result is great sorrow to many.

The Bible tells us about becoming a "new man" (Rom. 6:4,11). Each person needs to see themselves and their Creator in the way that pleases the greatest Power that exists - from His perspective. But we can also deny that there is such a power and succumb to all the pressures that surround us that in our eyes make life "wonderful." Sin seems pleasurable the Scriptures tell us (2 Thess. 2:12, 2 Tim. 3:4, 2 Pet. 2:13, Heb. 11:25). Some people think that a daily numbing of the mind through drugs or alcohol is wonderful. Some think that exerting seduction or control over others is wonderful. Some seek the adulation of others. Some think appearing beautiful to others is important. Some think amassing a fortune is the best. Some see that our life on earth is short so they spend much time seeking the answers to eternal life. Perspectives develop and change. Who is to say what way is the only way? Even decisions like that are subject to further changes as time passes and everything about us changes.

We say "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" in order to reflect a change of perspective. The Bible gives the example of King Saul who was pleasing to God as long as he stayed humble in his own eyes (I Sam. 15:17). That is when his perspective of his own importance changed. Saul began to do things as though he were more like God. He forgot who gave him the position and ability. King David would never have condoned the act of adultery and murder in others, but in his own eyes, his actions were acceptable (2 Sam. 12:5-7). God encouraged the whole nation of Israel to choose life rather than death - but from their perspective, they were choosing the better way and better life - and that was to be like other nations around them who had a king and who they thought were successful (I Sam. 8:5-7). From our perspective we see things through our own eyes and we can be so wrong that we would rather die than change.

And so it comes down to you as a person. Once we reach adulthood, we do have the ability to seek, look, study, search, understand and make changes. Good choices can only be made once we know the alternatives. Many times we cannot know the result of our choices, but we can react to those results when they are proven to be wrong. King David did that when he repented before God (Psalm 51). We are all commanded to repent - that is to learn about and acknowledge our errors and ungodly beliefs and behaviour and choose to change. Our perspectives can be altered. Our character is not written in stone. The great question was asked of Peter and the disciples after the awesome resurrection of Jesus Christ. "What shall we do?" The answer was "repent and be baptized" (Acts 2:37,38). Some grasped that new direction and their perspective changed. Some continued to wallow in the viewpoint they held - and would not change. Your perspective belongs to you and only you can choose to change. You can do it.



This is not the official web site of the United Church of God, an International Association (UCGIA). The only official UCG Web sites are at http://www.ucg.org and http://www.ucg.ca (of the Canadian National Council) and other national Web sites, which are part of UCGIA. They are not responsible and will not be held liable for the content, representations, or any claims arising out of materials contained on this web site.