In days gone by people were divided by things like economic class, color, or culture. There were times that hatred rose up and violence and riots tore apart any semblance of peace. Even now in Minneapolis, this is happening. There is an undercurrent to it all and it is causing so much division in society as a whole right now.
The division is symbolized by the masks many people wear today. Before I continue let me say that I am not picking on either the mask wearers or the mask non-wearers. I am writing about the division caused by perspective.
Perspective is based on what and who you believe. It is not reality but it defines your interpretation of reality so deeply that perspective actually becomes your reality. When this happens, you change your behavior and your thoughts to match your perspective. There is no room for dissent and any evidence that challenges your perspective is dismissed as either fluke or fake.
The people who wear masks have the perspective that the authorities are telling us the truth and doing what they think is right. The people who do not wear masks have the perspective that the authorities are not telling us the truth. There seems very little room for middle ground or agreement. There is even animosity between the two camps. I have heard and read non-maskers mocking maskers and maskers angrily lashing out at non-maskers.
It reminds me of the race riots of the sixties and the struggle for segregation in America. And these perspectives play a role in the violent riots in the United States today.
Whether it is called racism or maskism, when we allow our perspectives to become the truth, the absolute truth and nothing but the truth, we hurt each other. Our perspectives filter our world. We all have them and we all need them to make sense out of our environment. For example, a child must have that perspective that a fire is hot and dangerous or burns will occur. As we develop into adulthood these filters become more complex until they begin to from a string of reasoning. This is our worldview.
As I have written before, our worldview is our set of beliefs about how the world is and how it ought to be. Worldviews are very culturally dependent. Our first worldview is that of our parents and immediate family. Then our friends and co-workers and develops into an amalgamation of our experience and likes and dislikes.
For instance, I have a Biblical worldview with a western slant. My friends from Africa also have a Biblical worldview but because of very different experiences, it will have a different slant. I am not wrong nor or they wrong. In this case, the worldviews, although different, have a common ground—the Bible.
In the clash of perspectives or worldviews that happened in the sixties and continues now, it is hard to find common ground. From the idea that one race or culture is better than others to the notion that police only protect the oppressors and not the oppressed there is a great divide between perspectives and people.
Sometimes common ground is so very difficult to find and the only common ground in some instances is that we are human. And to be honest, there are times that is not enough to stop the hatred, fear, and violence. The persecution and slaughter of Christians in Nigeria and other areas shows this to be true. Hatred takes away that most basic of common grounds.
What about here and now in North America? There are many divisions along race and culture, poverty and power. And now we have added masks into the mix. Anger seems to be in every sector of society right now. What is the root of all this anger?
It is perspective. And they are based on idolization of the self. We put ourselves in the place of God as we judge others without mercy and force our will on them. Our perspective is not one of love. It is one of fear.
The only cure for such self-worship is to worship the Lord and the Lord only. He is the creator; we, you and I, are only the creation. Our perspectives are temporary and self-focused. God’s perspective is eternal and other focused.
I know times are tough and can be scary. Only the eternal perspective of God can set us free from the fear and anger that is controlling us now.
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. Andy and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministry in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest areas. He is a retired counselor, speaker, and writer. Andy Becker is working on his second book about spiritual warfare. His first book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.