by Jay O'Toole
When we perceive another human to be safe, he or she can be received into our confidence.
It's an interesting concept. Simply put, if any of us as an individual or as a group meets the stated requirements for acceptance by another individual or group, then we are received into their circle of activity.
Well, that didn't seem very simple, did it? Let's try illustrating the idea.
This weekend I went to a Christmas street festival and a football game in my hometown.
Law enforcement and other security personnel were very visible, including a dozen or more patrol cars in a row outside of the front gate at the game.
In both cases the activities were very orderly and peaceful.
"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." said Theodore Roosevelt, US President from 1901-1909.
(Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/theodorero130674.html)
When you show you can "do business," then the need for "doing business" decreases.
How does that relate to the original statement, that "Perception determines reception"?
When I arrived at the football game, I had tickets for my daughter and for myself. The stadium worker read our tickets, tore off the stubs, and welcomed us into the football game. A uniformed officer stepped up with a smile, and personally welcomed my daughter with the words, "That's a nice creeper jacket!" The daughter was wonderfully impressed, that an adult man should know what a creeper is, since it is a character on the video game website of Minecraft.
Behind all the aplomb at the game is the hidden message, "Act well and you will be treated well. Act poorly and you will be restrained." Put another way, "...for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:4, ESV)
Frankly, I feel much safer taking my daughter to events in this town because of this level of friendly, yet strong security.
Perception determines reception.
My daughter is, also, growing as an avid runner. We ran the 5 kilometer race, that began the Christmas festivities on Friday evening last. For the first part of the race, I could see her about 10-15 yards ahead of me, but I could never quite catch her. In the last mile she increased her pace and finished about a minute faster than I did. However, I was never worried about losing sight of her, since the Statesboro Police Department had the course well-covered and I knew she was safe.
I made a special effort to thank a group of police officers after the race in the attempt to express my deep level of gratitude. They informed me, that they were probably the ones I saw out on the route.
In this post I have already written a great many words about law enforcement and the great job they do in my town, but the ultimate point I have been trying to make is relational in scope.
Bottom Line: When we perceive an individual or a group of individuals as being "safe," then we are much freer to receive them into our confidence. (I sense that the Statesboro Police Department does many things to build trust with the Public. I, for one, would agree that they are achieving their purpose.)
What change would there be in one's perspective, if he or she were able to perceive the heart and the inside, and as-yet-hidden, purposes of others? How would that change our receptivity?
As humans we base our perceptions of safety and acceptability almost entirely on the outward appearances and the actions of others. We have no way of knowing what others are thinking, unless they tell us. Even then, we are sometimes left to wonder if we are being told the truth. Some humans seem to believe, that they can "read" other people, but this skill is oftentimes tenuous at best and downright faulty at worst.
I have read of mystics, who could "see the unseen," but even then, the characteristic of discernment inside of me urges me to take out such declarations to look at them long and hard before I believe these assertions myself.
However, the GOD, Who made us, can base His understanding of us on more than that. He knows our internal motives and the bent of our hearts toward or away from Him.
We get into football games with a ticket and the accompanying aplomb.
We leave football games with open gates and no check of identification.
Many humans together in one place requires great vigilance on the part of other humans for whom vigilance is their job.
However, we are received into relationship with GOD, when we accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as our "ticket" into His Presence. (John 3:16) With Him there are no gates by which we may leave. Once joined to the heart of The Redeemer, we are always members of His Family.
Again, on WDC there are individuals, who are more skeptical than I am on the possibility of the supernatural and the existence of God Himself. These atheists would indicate, that God has not made Himself "a safe Individual" to him or to her. God does not seem worthy of existence, nor consideration of any kind.
There's that thought one more time, "Perception determines reception."
Now, coming full circle the atheist point of view makes those of us, who do not feel safe with a "sans God" approach to life begin to wonder what sort of place we have in the world. Even then, Jesus has the best response, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16, KJV)
This is where I find Writing.Com to be unique. I have been welcomed by individuals, who believe in God (just as I do) with open arms. Yet, I don't feel shunned by individuals, who do not believe in God or who worship in a way that is different from the way I do.
People with different viewpoints on WDC do not try to pull me into a long debate over the issues. When I express my beliefs, I have had no one "take me to task."
This is refreshing. I am not always right. However, I love having a safe place where I can explore every aspect of my thoughts as a growing writer.
I guess in some ways every writer is a mystic of sorts. We see things, that may never have existed, until we express the thoughts of our hearts.
We are received for our skills and for the peaceful ways in which we interact. We are perceived to be safe because we continue to act and to express ourselves in ways, that make others free to be honest with us.
Honesty does not demand agreement on every point. Honesty gives permission to be who I am and to be accepted for being that person.
Perception determines reception.