Scrutinize Carefully

23 Feb

“Life is like a prism. What you see depends on how you turn the glass.”
~ Jonathan Kellerman

Doctors have it tough.  When a patient comes to see them, they are not sure why the patient is there.  The patient may be claiming to be suffering from a certain set of symptoms and thinks that he or she has a specific malady.

The doctor, on the other hand, has to look carefully and listen carefully. The doctor is listening for things left unsaid as well as what is being reported. The doctor looks at the patient and makes an examination.  The examination generally includes a deeper look with bloodwork, x-rays, and assorted tests.

Only after going through all of that does the doctor come up with a diagnosis.  That diagnosis might only be an initial diagnosis at that as the doctor looks deeper into things and watches to see how the patient responds to treatment.  The doctor always keeps in the back of his or her mind that a change in diagnosis or change in treatment might be necessary for the patient.

We are not a people that are used to examining things carefully.  We look at something — or someone — and make determinations based upon a very brief glance.  We do not often consider that we have made the wrong decision.  We do not leave ourselves open to changing our minds.

Kellerman gives us pause to think today about life being a prism.  There are a myriad of ways to view the world and the people in it.  When we think that our perception of the world is the only correct one, we blind ourselves to other possibilities.

I learned that for myself when I was assigned as a chaplain at Indiana State Prison and Lakeside Prison, both in Michigan City. Before that time, I, like many, held the opinion that anyone incarcerated was guilty and bad.  After my time at the prisons, I found that some were, indeed, innocent of the charges against them and subsequently released.  I also learned that not all people are bad, even if they ended up in prison.  They may have done bad things; but, an encounter with the Lord changed them.

When I realized that there were people in prison who had become good, decent people — yet they would freely admit guilt and accept their sentence — it caused me to view the world through a different prism.  It helped me want to minister to them because I saw their desire and hunger for the Lord.

We cannot know someone only glancing briefly at them and making snap judgments.  We need to view all things from all angles.

FAITH ACTION:  If you have judged someone harshly, take another look at the situation to determine whether you may need to change your mind.