There are many things that shape your life: your experiences and your relationships play a big role in who you are. The person you are has been shaped either positively or negatively by those you interact with. There is a poem that you see a lot in the classroom or where children congregate in large numbers. The name of the poem is, Children Learn What they Live.
This poem identifies what children learn from their experiences. Children are not alone in learning from experiences, adults do the same. Experiences shape the lens through which you view the world. A few years ago, I had a strange experience. On my way home from work, I had a really bad headache and decided to go rest for a while when I got home. While on my bed, I open my eyes and ceiling was moving.
I thought, this is so crazy. Why is the ceiling moving if I’m lying quietly on my bed? Many thoughts raced through my mind; but nothing could account for the ceiling pretending to be a merry-go-round. So I decided I will visit the doctor’s office first thing in the morning. I was referred to the Emergency Room, only to find out I had vertigo. Since then, I’ve had that unpleasant experience a number of times. Vertigo has shaped my lens of the world. I am careful when I walk and where I place my feet. My perspective of the world has been shaped by my experiences. The world is not as safe for me anymore.
In the Bible there is a young man whose life was shaped by his perspective. His story begins in 2 Samuel 4:4. It says, “It so happened that Saul’s son, Jonathan, had a son who was maimed in both feet. When he was five years old, the report on Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and ran, but in her hurry to get away she fell, and the boy was maimed. His name was Mephibosheth.”
Very sad, she wanted to help him, and she dropped him. In an instant, his world changed. Things that any five year old could do, he couldn’t. He was unable to walk and move around; he had to be carried. The same day he lost his father, he lost his mobility. This five year old boy who lived in the palace, now had a new life that had nothing in common with the life he had before.
When you are dropped, it changes your world. Your ability to get from one place to another, changes. Before, he needed adult guidance to keep him safe, now he needed help to get from one place to the next. He went from independence to dependence. The world was no longer a place to explore, instead it became a place to endure. His view of the world was shaped by his experiences.
One day, David wanted to show kindness to one of Saul’s relatives because of his connection to Jonathan. David discovered that Saul had a son, Mephibosheth, by name. He had him brought to the palace. As Jonathan’s son, he was born in a palace but he was afraid. When David saw his discomfort, he tried to put him at ease. In 2 Samuel 9:7 David said. “Don’t be frightened, I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan.” Mephibosheth replied, “Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?” Mephibosheth allowed his experiences to shape his perspective and changed the way he saw himself. David looked at him and saw Jonathan’s son, grandson to King Saul. David’s perspective was shaped by who Jonathan was.
Be careful how you see yourself and the way you look at others. Your perspective dictates how you engage with the people around you. If like Mephibosheth, you devalue yourself and others, remember in Genesis 1 God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.” God created you with value. Let God’s word shape your perspective.