“Your point of view is everything: the pond is an ocean to a tadpole” (Anonymous).
WHAT WE “SEE” DEPENDS LARGELY ON WHAT “ANGLE” WE ARE LOOKING FROM. If our viewpoint is quite limited, we may, like the tadpole, mistake the pond we’re in for an ocean.
There are several ways that our viewpoint can be improved.
(1) Moving from side to side. When you are looking at a painting in an art gallery, it helps to move around, seeing it from one side and then the other. Similarly, we can vary the “angle” from which we look at almost everything in life. We just have to make mental adjustments.
(2) Backing up. It sometimes helps to see more of what we’re looking at. We do that by mentally “backing up,” so that our view is more comprehensive. Very often, the most helpful view is the bigger one.
(3) Looking more intently. Seeing things accurately requires work, and so we often fail to see what we should because we haven’t really concentrated on it. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “You must scale the mountain if you would view the plain.” If we haven’t paid the price, we shouldn’t expect any improvement in our perspective.
(4) Looking more honestly. The one thing that hinders our viewpoint the most is our lack of honesty. Too often, we only see what we want to see. As J. Oswald Sanders said, “Eyes that look are common, but eyes that see are rare.” Moving from side to side, backing up, and looking more intently can’t help us if we’re not willing to see what we need to see. Ultimately, our “heart” is what determines our “vision.”
As finite creatures, we won’t ever be able to see everything. But we can certainly improve our viewpoint, and we’re foolish not to do that when we have the opportunity. Our Creator, of course, sees all things from a perfect viewpoint. To whatever extent we can adopt His perspective, what we see will help us to exercise better judgment — especially when it is other human beings that we are judging.
Man judges from a partial view.
None ever yet his brother knew;
The eternal eye that sees the whole
May better read the darkened soul,
And find, to outward sense denied,
The flower upon its inmost side!
(John Greenleaf Whittier)