In our work environments, it is easy to hear—or speak—unkind things about managers, coworkers, customers, people in other departments as though it is indeed the truth, when, in fact, it is just a perception, and often it’s an incorrect perception. What harm is done to people’s careers, reputations and feelings because of these deadly opinions so freely expressed!
Have you noticed how easily we gravitate toward these negative opinions and perceptions—ours as well as those expressed to us by others? Our old nature just seems to love to hear and believe the worst. And yet, Christians should be just the opposite. When the love of God is spread in our hearts, our new nature will cause us to discount the unlovely things we hear.
First Corinthians 13:6 says that love—true agape love— does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. A child of God should have an unmistakable trademark of this kind of love, which doesn’t gleefully indulge in these careless expressions of unkind and negative opinions and perceptions, either in their own minds or from others.
Why don’t we simply make a decision to be skeptical of negative perceptions—other people’s perceptions expressed to us and our own perceptions formed in our minds? Let’s ask God to give us discernment so that we can see past the flippant opinions expressed and understand the truth. When you find yourself forming a negative impression of others, stop and put yourself in their shoes; ask yourself if you really have adequate input to form this perception; become skeptical of your own opinions.
The Psalmist said, “I have resolved that my mouth will not sin” (Psalm 17:3). And he prayed, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). I try to visualize my mouth as having two guards on either side, carefully screening the words I’m getting ready to say.
Once I started to give my reactions and opinions about another organization, and that guard at the door of my lips quickly reminded me that my opinion was not needed, and it would not build anyone up or bring about any good. So, the words were screened before they came out. Join me in asking God to teach us to remember that our perceptions do not necessarily equal reality.