COLUMN: The power of our perceptions

How would you respond to meeting someone for the first time knowing ahead of time that the person really liked you?

  • Jan. 10, 2015 7:00 p.m.

by Todd Martin, Contributor

How would you respond to meeting someone for the first time knowing ahead of time that the person really liked you?

Do you remember the grade school drill in which notes of admiration were covertly passed from the admirer to the one admired?  I can remember getting a note from a girl in Grade 6 that said she liked me.

I felt pretty good even though I didn’t really know the person that well.

As a result, I started to like her and was quite friendly to her.

Unfortunately, I found out later that her friends wrote the note without her knowing.

Thankfully she liked that I liked her and all was good at an awkward Grade 6 romance level.

We like to be liked and when we think someone likes us, we tend to like them whether they really like us or not.

Our minds are powerful tools in creating our perception of the world around us including our relationships.

I think we underestimate the power of our perceptions in shaping our relationship with God.

Too many people live life thinking God doesn’t really care about them or even worse, that God hates them.

According to scripture, this could not be further from the truth. There are two important issues to understand about our relationship with God that affects the way we live.

First, we need to understand how God really feels about us, not just how we think he feels about us. God loves us!

The Bible tells us that God loves the world so much that he sent his son to die on our behalf  (John 3:16).

The idea of Jesus dying for us was not some plan B but we are told he died for us before the world was ever created  (Revelation 13:8). Secondly, we need to understand the timing of this love, because when we do,  everything we believe about God and how he views us must be put through this lens. Paul emphasizes this important timing issue when he told the church in Rome that Jesus died for them while they were still sinners as a demonstration of his love (Romans5:8). God’s love for us precedes any goodness on our part.

If we go back to our note-passing illustration, we see how God initiated this whole liking and loving relationship that he created us to have with him. In 1 John 4:19 we are told how he feels about us and that he started the ball rolling.

We love God because he first loved us.

I know Christmas is just passed and Easter is a few months away but I want everyone to be reminded of God’s deep love for each person and that he broke into our world as a tiny baby and willingly left it as a perfect sacrifice for all humanity.

Think about this when you wonder whether God likes you or not.

Todd Martin  is an assistant professor of sociology at  Trinity Western University