Perception vs. Reality

(Originally written November, 1999)

It was a beautiful Saturday evening in Norman, Oklahoma, and our football team jumped out to a large half-time lead over Texas A&M.  It appeared that we would win easily, but we had learned in successive weeks that what looked like a huge upset over Notre Dame (16 point lead) and a sure win over Texas (17 points up) were just illusions.  In each case what had seemed to be logical and certain in the emotions of the moment became only a bad nightmare.  Each day in life all of us are faced with choices that appear to be right but ultimately lead to destruction.  For example, many of us seek to control others around us by anger, but in doing so we lose our influence.  In hating those who have hurt us, we try to cause them pain, only to see our bitterness destroys us, not them.  The small lie sounds like it will get us out of trouble, but it only leads us into a broader web of deceit.  We envy our neighbor and covet their car, their house, their job, and their lifestyle, but as we achieve each goal, it does not satisfy, and so we increase our want list.

It seemed that the federal government could help our local school districts and solve our medical system problems, but they only made them worst.  It appeared to be more convenient to “reason” with our young children and not take the time to discipline them.  However, having no boundaries our children made poor choices.  More food, freer sex, and unlimited credit cards promised to give us enjoyment, pleasure, and prosperity.  However, their rewards turned out to be diets, broken homes, and bankruptcy.

As a society we have made choices that had the appearance of justice, but they led us to save animals and kill babies.  These wrong choices caused us to promote filth, profanity, the disrespect of our teachers and elders, and the proliferation of wickedness across our entertainment screens.  We have promoted darkness, death, dirtiness, yet belittled light, life, and cleanness.  We think nothing of political and business leaders cheating, stealing, and lying.  We live in a fantasy world of entertainment that avoids reality, unless it is the course jokes of bathroom humor, music that puts down our values, or movies that degrade our marriages.

The road that we often choose looks straight, but it is a mirage.  It is only a castle in the air and a rainbow that we will never quite reach.  This false short cut teaches us that hoarding is superior to giving, serving is not necessary to leading, and power is gained by selfishly walking over those around us.  We seek the “newer”, the “bigger,” and the “quicker”.  We seek more power, pleasure, and possessions as we proudly walk in our own independent way.  We have no need for discipline, learning, patience, or perseverance.  We have chosen our own broad road, following the crowd of fools, changing our values constantly, and demanding instant gratification.  Our twisted minds make our choices seem logical and good.  However, there is a narrow path, that few choose to take, that is based on truth, and on it will find wise experienced mentors who have been down this way before.

The O.U. crowd of 75,000 fans was hungry for a win and fortunately that day did not see a second half collapse, but a stunning victory.  However, they had learned a valuable lesson during the prior weeks.  What seems obvious and apparent is not always the case.  In a fast changing world built upon appearance, fantasy, and perception, we sometimes need a strong dose of truth and reality.  The wise Proverb reminds us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  (14:12)  Basing our choices on perception may lead to destruction.  Choose wisely!

Looking for the path,

Kent Humphreys

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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