THE PERSPECTIVE OF ESCHER
In art, perspective has to do with the vantage point of the drawing or painting. M.C. Escher if famous for the way he bent perspectives in his artwork.
In life, my personal perspective can influence my judgement or cause me to look at things differently than others who’ve had a different life experience. For example, in my perspective of living in the United States, my family lived rather modesty on my father’s income with seven kids in the house a one point. I might even term us as poor. However, the fact that we had clean drinking water and an indoor bathroom and at least 7 pair of underwear at any given time made us very rich by the standards of the majority of children in this world. Much of the world would have an entirely different perspective of my life.
But I wonder if I have a right to have a unique perspective on any spiritual or moral issues? Is it okay to allow my personal experience – things like the country I live in, the color of my skin or my level of education to bend my perspective?
To answer that, I think the first question should be, what is God’s perspective? I believe the Bible gives us the perspective by which God views everything: love and eternity. God looks at everything and everyone from the perspective of love and eternity. He makes every decision based on love and eternity.
God is love. [1 John 4:8] He loves us. [John 3:16] And He tells us to love as He loves. [John 13:34] God is eternal. [Deut. 33:27] And His gift to us is eternal life as well. [Romans 6:23]
If I call myself a Christian, I believe that my perspective must be the same as God. When I look at a person or an issue or an opportunity; when I am trying to make a decision, I should ask myself: Is this loving? Does this come from a perspective of love? Is this the right thing to do from the perspective of eternity? What should matter most in the scheme of all eternity?
The perspective of love and eternity will never steer us wrong. I really believe that. Here is just one example from life:
Is earning this new account at work worth withholding some information or flat out lying about the company’s product or abilities? What if I know earning this account will mean more jobs for our community and a nice commission check for me, which I will tithe on, maybe going toward preaching the gospel or helping the poor? What if not earning it means people will lose their jobs and maybe I’ll lose my car because I won’t be able to keep up the payments? From the perspective of eternity: no, not worth losing eternity for a big commission in this life – not even if I can do good things with that money or if it opens up jobs. From the perspective of love: no, it isn’t loving to mislead a prospective client because their employees deserve to keep their jobs just as much as my company’s employees do and that company deserves to be able to have a healthy bottom line just as much as my company does.
It is true that being able to look at situations from another person’s perspective is a good way to understand and help them. But I should, given the opportunity, encourage them to start looking at things from God’s perspective of love and eternity, never from a personal perspective.
I am sure we are each faced with decisions in our everyday lives that could be more easily made if we ensured that they are being made from the perspective of love and eternity. But I do have to acknowledge that some decision don’t require it – like whether to buy a red car or a blue car or whether to become a nurse or a teacher.
In all other decisions, a solid perspective of love and eternity will keep us true to our positions as future kings and priests in Gods’ kingdom. That is because the perspective of love and eternity is not bent by a personal tragedy, or by a personal success, or by my nationality, or by my level of education, or by any other human experience. Life experiences, nationality, educational level, etc. do not change God’s perspective of love and eternity. There is no place for situational ethics to take hold if my perspective is love and eternity.
The artwork of M.C. Escher is interesting specifically because it bends perspective. However, as a Christian I cannot afford to “Escherize” my perspective in life.
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About the N.E.W. Church Lady – She is just an average middle aged woman who has been a believer and church attender all her life. She is married with three grown children. She lives in a small town and works in sales. Her hobbies are fitness, reading, cooking, writing and travel.