the law of the lens...
- We don’t see things they way there are, we see things the way we are.
(this quote spurred on these thoughts last night)
- As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. – Bible
- To the pure all things are pure, but to the defiled all things are defiled. - Bible
I call it the law of the lens. Our lens holds the power of our limitation or our liberation. It releases or restricts. It expands or contracts. Some call it a world-view. Some call it a paradigm. Some call it a yoke. Some call it a hermeneutic.
I don’t care what you call it; it rules a person’s sense of reality.
Jesus said that the lamp of the body is the eye. And if the eye is bad, the whole body is full of darkness. This is the law of the lens being spoken of by Jesus. The eye gate grants you a vision of life, but you do not believe what you see. That is a common misunderstanding. Rather, most people see what they believe.
Predispositions. Prejudices. Presuppositions. These serve as the controlling grid of interpretation. These spectacles are what lead to the spectacle of so many people’s lives.
Jesus even said to the Pharisee’s, “Because you think you can see, you are blind.” It was their stubborn perspective that was blocking truth from being absorbed. They already had made up their mind.
We all have a made up mind. It isn’t made up over the course of a week or a year. It is made up of a lifetime of learned beliefs and behaviors. Our whole lives have taught us how to treat ourselves, present ourselves, justify ourselves, protect ourselves, and ultimately to view ourselves. This view of ourselves cannot be overstated or overestimated. People will never rise above their own self-conception. It is the shock collar that keeps you confined inside the invisible fenced in perimeter.
Why do you think Jesus includes this piece of psychology within the Greatest Commandment? “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” I don’t mean to be insulting when I say, “You can do no other, for it is impossible to love anyone until you are beloved yourself.” You give what you’ve received. Nothing more, nothing less. Again, the way you see yourself will directly impact the way you see others. You can’t imagine anyone living a life outside of your own experiential grid. We say things like, “You must swap shoes with them in order to understand them.” But you can’t do this. You can’t just walk a mile is someone’s shoes. You can’t. You must walk the same mile they just walked in your own, only then will you begin to loosely relate to their story.
This is where the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” comes from. Again, it’s a psychological schema being evoked. You’re calling on people to reach deep within their own story and draw from their loftiest thoughts of themselves, appealing to the highest view they carry of themselves. If in fact they have a darkened lens that leads to a darkened self-conception, you will see them offer to others a cup of water out of their well of limitation. If, however, they dig deep and find an enlightened, expansive self-perception, they will offer a cup of water out of their well of liberation. We cannot get away from this staggering law of the lens try as we may to divorce our world-view from our self-view. They cannot be torn asunder.
This is why the transformation of the inner man is such a radical gospel offering. It’s the notion that you can’t change yourself; mainly because it’s an absurd conflict of interests if you really think about it. This is why self-help books are fundamentally impotent. They offer temporal alterations and modifications when what is truly needed is radical amputation and renovation. Self can’t help self. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but spirit gives birth to spirit. The Spirit of God doesn’t make us a better version of the old, it installs a new version altogether, another person altogether. The Scriptures say, “We are now hidden with Christ in God.” Our human spirit is occupied by the Holy Spirit. And the person of Christ becomes us as we become Him.
As he moves beyond just residence to precedence, we start to see everything differently. We see ourselves differently, thus we see life differently. This is why humility is the first virtue of a truly converted soul. We no longer function with ego at the center, for the Spirit now becomes our interpreter and intercessor. What comes in and what goes out is screened through his lens. And this is where the law of the lens takes on brand new possibilities.
For the pure in heart shall see God. - Bible