In the summer of 2015, a group of staff from Center Lake Bible Camp went on a trip to Marquette in the U.P. Despite having a stomach bug, I had a blast. We visited this amazing park called Dead River Falls, where we jumped from rock to rock, climbed boulders, swam beneath water falls, and went cliff jumping. There were no signs saying to keep on the paths and we were free to test our climbing, leaping, and scurrying skills as much as we desired. The adventures were those of my dreams and I was in love with the place.
Therefore, when my family took a vacation in the upper peninsula, I insisted that our family (with kids ranging age 8-17) check the place out. Nearly immediately after we arrived, however, I realized this place was not going to be the ultimate place for my mom to hang out; I didn’t realize quite how steep the trail was… She took off to go shopping. As the rest of us (my dad and four of my siblings), continued on, I suddenly realized how treacherous the paths were, how fast the water was gushing, how high the rocks were, how slippery the path was, how sketchy the bridges were, how dangerous the place was–especially for my clumsy, careless 8-year-old brother. Even working our way along the hillside to get to the boulders, I was convinced my little brother would trip on one of the many roots, slide all the way down the eroding hill, and hit his head on the sharp rocks, before slipping into the gushing waterfall.
Although with the competent young, strong, adult camp staff I had had the adventure of my life, immediately when my uncoordinated little brother and several younger sisters were along, I feared for their lives and the experience was not exactly fun. This is just another demonstration of how perception varies depending on so many variables. Have you ever started that movie that your friend said was great only to have the friend suggest you stop watching part way through? With different people, the movie seemed less appropriate.
Not only do different people have different perspectives, but perspectives change based on who we are with. This plays a role in the saying “Bad company corrupts good moral” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Not only does bad company push us to compromise our morals, but it is likely that, in the presence of such company, we don’t even perceive our choices as that negative. Now, of course, not all perspective-changers are negative (in fact, arguably most are neutral and amoral (not related to morals at all)), but it is valuable to be aware of the fact that perspectives change. For Christians, whose goals are to glorify God above all else, this means we should keep Biblical morals in view the whole time.
But even from the amoral perspective, recognizing how many different things affect perception can be handy. When making plans for what activities to do with your friends, which movies to watch with the family, or where to go on vacation, plans might turn out better if you have the foresight to make sure you’re planning with the right perspective in mind.
What are some of your different experiences of the same thing? What changed your perspective? I would love to hear your perceptions!