Have you ever thought one thing and then heard or saw something that changed your perspective, which changed your mind about what you believed was true? Or have you ever been stressed out about something or someone, like thinking a person didn’t like you but later finding out she thought you didn’t like her?
In the letter to the church at Philippi, Paul encouraged two women who were at odds with each other to make peace, and he told the rest of the people to help them. Then he gave further instructions, including the power of positive thinking, that would help keep the peace of God among them.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” —Philippians 4:8
“Anger so clouds the mind that it cannot perceive the truth.” —Latin proverb
Sometimes things are, indeed, as they appear or as we’ve been told, but sometimes they are not. Sometimes in order to know what’s true, we have to be willing to see things from another vantage point. A couple of weeks ago, my second son told me about a short, amazing T-Rex illusion video that demonstrates the principle of perspective perfectly. It is very cool!
Even after seeing the T-Rex as it truly is, it is nearly impossible to avoid seeing the optical illusion when the perspective keeps changing. Life is constantly changing and in the same way, its changing circumstances can cause us to forget what is true, and we can start believing a lie. Or sometimes because we trust our own perception or what seems to be true, we refuse to see things any other way and remain stuck in an illusion.
“It was an illusion, but to the perception, it was as powerful as reality.” —Steve Cobb, pastor
Any good life coach will tell you that the first step to transformation is to change your thinking. The Bible gives the same principle. Romans 12:2b says, “…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” The context has to do with how to test and know what the will of God is—what is good, acceptable and perfect—but the principle of the first step in transformation is there none the less.
“It is not the problem that’s the problem. It is your attitude about the problem.” —Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
“We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.” —The Talmud
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” —John Lubbock
“Most people see what they want to, or at least what they expect to.” —Martha Grimes
Here is another video that illustrates the power of both positive and negative thinking. It’s a bit longer, but if you tend to deal with stress, it is well-worth watching.
Edited on January 9, 2014 to add: Please see my additional comment below.
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