by Roxanne Parks on Youversion
What Is Our Vantage Point?
If you remember the movie “Vantage Point” from 2008, you’ll be familiar with the concept that we can’t assume to know reasons for other people’s actions. In the movie, during an historic counter-terrorism summit in Spain, the President of the United States is struck down by an assassin’s bullet. Eight strangers have a perfect view of the kill, but what did they really see? This movie portrays the story from the “Vantage Point” of each eye witness. Although each story has similar components, they differ from their “point of view.” This movie depicts how life can easily be seen from many points of view.
There are many things out of our control. Such as who are our parents, what nation or decade we are born into, what our skin color is etc. We all have a mother and a father. We all have a story. We all have unique personal experiences, strengths, weaknesses, personalities, core values etc. So, our perspective can be wildly different from one another. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephen Covey), habit #5 is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Empathetic listening to others compels them to reciprocate that listening model. This leads to greater understanding and communication. It is easier to give grace to others when we understand their point of view, whether we agree with it or not.
The other day I was standing behind a lady in the Walmart line that was so angry about not being able to find her credit card that she took it out on me as well as the cashier. Her cuss words made the cashier super responsive and angry (an easily offendable heart). Her cuss words to me made me wonder what her background story had been, what had been troubling her that day, what else was going on inside of her. I wanted to give her a big hug. I felt so sorry for her as I understood her frustration and embarrassment. I haven’t been able to locate my credit card before. But that was no reason for offense. I sought to understand her predicament. I was grateful for my journey with an unoffendable heart.
God is the only one with a pure and true vantage point. His is an eternal purpose-filled vantage point! We cannot know the heart of another. We probably don’t know their story or the pains that drive their behaviors. But we can be slow to anger and quick to forgive even when we don’t understand. We can live from a heart of compassion versus a heart that simply chooses offense.
May we all consider the vantage point that we are all a work in progress, that we all need love, grace and mercy from others. Let it start with me.
Consider the fact that an irritating person might be so because of something in their background that you don’t understand. Consider that others are a work-in-progress just like you.
Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.Proverbs 18:2
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,James 1:19
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.Romans 14:1-4
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.Hebrews 12:15
Lord, help me seek first to understand before being understood. Help me to see through Your eyes of mercy, grace and a patient love.