Life doesn’t just happen to us; we experience it and interpret it through a filter. That filter, like a pair of glasses, consists of beliefs and values we might not even realize we hold.
The same event could be experienced and interpreted in different ways by different people because of their different filters: for example, getting a flat tire. One person might get out of the car, see the flat, and start to rage: “What the **** is this? Why does this kind of **** always happen to me? You stupid tire!” This response is the result of a filter that believes life should be good and easy, that nothing bad should ever happen to her. This unrealistic expectation is a setup for massive disappointment and anger when life doesn’t cooperate.
Another person might see the flat and think, “Oh bummer! Well, Lord, thank You for protecting me from a dangerous high-speed blowout. Please help me here—would You send a road angel to help me change out the spare?” This very different response is the result of a filter that recognizes we live in a fallen world where unfortunate and even bad things happen, but God is still good and we can call on Him to help us at any and every time.
We can’t change life or the things that happen to us, but we can change our filter to bring it into alignment with biblical truth.
You might need to change your filter if:
• You consistently see the glass half-empty instead of half-full; if you always put a negative spin on any news you hear. [Check out Philippians 4:8]
• You see any comment other than glowing praise as a personal attack that threatens your well-being, and you aggressively growl back. [Check out Philippians 2:3]
• You dismiss other people’s answers to prayers, and blessings they receive, as yet more proof that God loves everybody but you. [Check out Romans 8:38-39]
• You evaluate everything in terms of how you feel about it. You are nice to your spouse or your co-worker only when you feel like being nice; you don’t repent if you don’t feel repentant; you don’t spend time with God if you don’t feel like it; you are obedient when you feel like being obedient, etc. [Check out 2 Corinthians 10:5-6]
• You view everything in terms of the here-and-now, temporal, earthly sphere, and ignore the eternal, spiritual dimension. [Check out 2 Corinthians 4:18]
• You get uncomfortable when people bring spiritual conversations into Monday through Saturday because they only belong to Sunday. [Check out all references to the Lord Jesus Christ]
What do you think. . . is it time to change your filter?
This blog post originally appeared at
on Aug. 16, 2011.