Perspective affects everything. It leads you in the way you interact with others. If your perspective is flawed, you will view others incorrectly, which may lead to becoming critical or judgmental. Consciously or subconsciously, you may also categorize them, which can lead to cases of mistaken identity. Meaning, you believed someone to be a certain way, which in reality, he or she is the opposite. The way you view yourself can play into it as well, but that won’t be addressed here.
Everyone has a story, and every story is important. In fact, it’s a gift! Part of loving others is getting to know them. And that means putting your story on the shelf for a while, so they may tell theirs. It means listening to what they have to say with no other agenda than learning who they are. Their story may reveal how they became who you see in front of you, or at least how they got there. In some cases, you may discover the person before you is not who you thought they were. Moreover, until they can trust you with their story, you may never see their true selves. You’ll only see what they want you to see for the most part. Of course, you may see through the façade, but they’re never going to trust you with their real identity until you are willing to listen with an open heart -without judgment. If they don’t feel safe with you, you’ll never truly know them!
How you listen is important. If you’re distracted with your own story or agenda, you will not hear them correctly, because you’re not truly listening. Be careful of selective hearing. It’s easy to ignore or overlook what is actually being said, if you have predetermined who they are, and looking to prove it. You’ll only hear those things that line up with the way you want to view them. You would be creating a wrong image, should you decide to ignore the truth when it’s presented to you. That is completely unfair! Have you ever had someone dismiss what you had to say, because he or she already made up his or her mind? What did that do for you? Did you feel injustice was served?
If you listen with a pure heart, you will listen well. As you do, you may find your perspective change about the other person -perhaps drastically. In some cases, you may find the judgment you felt toward another, vacate your heart, simply because you listened. One final thought: if a person received Jesus Christ, know he or she is not the same person you once knew. If you knew him or her for a lifetime, it’s important to give them room to change. They aren’t going to be the same old person you once knew. If you fail to recognize it, you may treat him or her unfairly.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.