As with all of my most recent years, this has been a year of change for me in many ways, as it may have been for you, too. Some of my long-held relationships have changed yet again. My life circumstances have changed yet again. And in many ways, I’ve changed, too. Some of these changes have prompted me to think about perspectives. It’s a funny thing, perspective.
The low point of this year for me was a death. One of my relationships died. I helped bring it to the edge of death then I pushed it over because it was no longer healthy. It was my first time deliberately and intentionally killing a relationship. It wasn’t easy. I hated pushing it off that cliff and it pained me for quite some time, even though I believed – and still believe – that it was the right thing to do. I don’t think my deliberate ending of that relationship makes me a bad person and I don’t believe that I did something wrong when I killed it. Even as I prepared myself to kick it off the cliff, I knew that one consequence would be that I would be poorly regarded because of this action. But it still had to be done. In my heart I know I did what had to be done and in the way that it had to be done. Even so, the other person probably thinks I’m hard, insensitive and unkind.
As a God-lover and God-pleaser, I consulted Him before I killed that relationship. I knew that it was time for it to end but I just didn’t know how to do it. Then the answer came to me and I acted expeditiously, doing what I felt God wanted me to do. The other person is also a God-lover. But do you think they would believe that I did what I knew in my spirit was right, no matter how hurtful it was for them? Chances are that the hurt I necessarily inflicted would make it difficult for them to believe or accept that but their lack of belief or acceptance wouldn’t make it any less true. Even now, months later, I don’t regret it. I don’t like that it had to happen but I don’t regret it, because I know it was the right thing to do.
See? Perspective. Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
There’s another rocky relationship that I’ve been observing for a little while now. One party believes that they’ve been taken advantage of, used and abused. The other party is confused and is wondering where all of this is coming from. There are heaping mounds of animosity pouring off Party A towards Party B. Meanwhile, Party B tries not engage the vitriol of Party A so that life can be peaceful. I’m not sure how well it’s working. Both parties are God-lovers and both believe they’re in the right. Party A thinks that Party B is selfish and ungrateful while Party B is probably wondering what happened to all the Bible teaching that Party A has had all their life.
You see? Perspective. Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
My contemplation on perspectives left my mind in a bit of a tangled mess, especially because all the situations I was thinking about involved normally godly people who all think they’re in the right. For my own situation, my strong conviction that what I had done what was right and was what God wanted me to do had me feeling like His special girl at one point. Then it occurred to me that the other person – again, who’s a God-lover too – probably also felt special. And we can’t both be special, right? Because we both can’t be right.
You know how if everything is special then nothing is special? It’s like how I love IHOP. Their pancakes are special to me and because they’re special, I don’t want to eat there every day. If I did, it wouldn’t be special anymore. So if everything is special then nothing is special; special just becomes normal. As this year comes to a close, I’m reminding myself that in God’s sight is the one place where everything is special. Somehow, He regards each and every one of us, His children, as special. Not just precious, but special. Consider what special means: better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. This means that the person who is my adversary is just as special to God as I am. I know! Mind-blowing, isn’t it? It blew my mind, too. Somehow, every single person who has ever lived, who is living now and who will ever live is special to God, no matter what perspective they have and no matter what perspective others see them from.
The year is just about done now. At times, it seemed to drag interminably but, at least for me, it’s mostly passed in the twinkling of an eye. In fact, it’s been so fast that I’ve become even more highly aware of the passage of time and how precious it is. So I close this year praying that God will pour into me the love and compassion that I need to see from other perspectives that aren’t mine, because as much as it can hurt when I see from other perspectives, in the long run it hurts so much more when I don’t. And I know my Father doesn’t want that for His very special girl.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 (NASB)