We often hear that perception is reality. It is for the person perceiving. It may be a fantasy. It may have no basis in fact or truth. It may be speculation. It may be a wish, but to that person, it either becomes or is their reality. Their reality regarding the subject in question.
Some of my friends like to call it “discernment” or “intuition” but I call it “perception and presumption.” Perception is sometimes a very complex cognitive process that yields a unique picture of the world. That picture may be quite other than reality, but it becomes a foundational guide for the person who adopts that perception. The factors involved stem from multiple stimuli and may reside in the perceiver, the object or target being perceived, or in the context or supposed context of the situation in which the perception is formed.
We all engage in presumption and those presumptions help shape our perception. I get push-back over that statement frequently from some on both sides of any issue and they argue that they NEVER rush to a conclusion but wait for the facts. I usually suppress a laugh because my laughter would create another presumption that would prevent any further constructive discussion, but laugh I do on the inside. That argument is their “perception” of who they are and how they formulate opinions and frequently it is not ‘reality’ only ‘personal perception.’
In today’s American political world and in the world in general, presumption produces a problem in perception which results in damaged perspective far too frequently. I recall a time, in my ministerial life, where I discussed with a denominational official this very fact. He was highly critical of some ministers and ministries not like ours and not following our creed or doctrinal stances. He had used some disparaging terms to identify a couple of ministers with whom he took exception in his preaching that day. In my attempt to point out the dangers of his attitude, I shared with him something from my recent encounters with the LORD through the Bible and in prayer.
I shared with him that the Holy Spirit had nudged my heart to listen to other people fully before presuming they were heretics and totally erroneous in their doctrine. The words I heard in my spirit were, “If you listen you will find more to applaud than to criticize.”
No, I am not suggesting that we open the door to anything and everything in our churches, our minds, or our lives but we should hear the conclusion of the whole matter before tossing out the bathwater, it just might have a baby in it. I then told him that I had recently been to a conference in which the keynote speaker preached a message that was incredibly moving, biblical, and one that the church and the world needed to hear. I then made a dangerous statement to a superior. I said, “If I could give you the tape of the message and somehow hide the identity of the speaker from you, you would preach some form of that message everywhere you went.” When I told him the man’s name, he scoffed and said, “Listening to a heretic, are you?”
In politics, we have inverted so many things and presumed wrongly so often that we, all of us, seem to have difficulty formulating sound perspective on many things. We are, at best, inconsistent. Yes, I said we, and I place myself in that category. I believe that I believe correctly, and my political positions are rooted in fact, truth, morality, the Bible, and the Constitution. Could I be wrong? Do wild bears live in the woods? Of course, I am wrong on some points. Maybe not completely wrong, but incomplete in my perception, flawed in my perception, and my perspective is skewed based on those problems.
One area which has recently been inverted dangerously by those on the Left and some on the Right who are determined to destroy the current president I address. The “Presumption of Innocence” is a foundational precept and principle which we lose to our hurt and probable destruction as the Free Constitutional Republic and our System of Justice.
I know no one who does not form opinions at the outset. We do that with people we meet, the situations we encounter, policies of the government, and in every facet of life. We have ‘first impressions’ and those are incredibly difficult to overcome. If our foundational and guiding rule is “Presuming Innocence Until Guilt is Proven” we will not be quick to presume, and our perception will not be tainted so that the burden of proof is not shifted from the accuser to the accused.
Not to be crude but I was told early in life and it has been repeated in my ministerial studies that “Assumption” is a dangerous element in “Presumption.” I had a superior in Viet Nam define “Assume” for me. He said, “When you assume you make an ass out of u and me.” I had a senior statesman in the ministry, a theological giant in my view, tell me that to “Assume was to take the place of God and Presume to know more than the one who could see the end from the beginning.”
People formed opinions about our former presidents based on many varying stimuli and influences. Some may have been based on looks, personality, gender, ethnicity, political ideology, or rhetoric not yet validated with fact. Those presumptions caused us to form a perception about those persons and when facts not consistent with those presumptions came to light, we presumed they were skewed by supporters, not true reality. Our perspective, shaped by our presumptions, created a perception that many cannot overcome.
I detest political corruption! No, I detest corruption of all kinds and in all areas of life! We could discuss abortion, immigration, national security, phobia, and any area of life and the problem would be the same. We presume or assume and out of our presumptions, we form a perception that shapes our perspective and drives our actions. I hope that I have not rambled so laboriously that my intent is missed. If I have the perception of me and my plea are unworthy of consideration. My request is, “Let’s hear the conclusion, examine the facts, and wait for the evidence before become adamant in our perspectives.”
God bless you and God bless America!