Wow! What a big and important concept of intention vs. perception is for every single relationship we have or will have! Many misunderstandings and arguments are based on the difference between these two words. Let’s look at some examples:
Your husband has decided to do something that you don’t understand, so you ask him why he is doing it that way. Immediately, he gets defensive and snaps back at you, “Why do you always question everything I do?!” His reaction startles you and causes you to bristle and you may snap back with words of frustration. Let’s look at this closer…When you were asking, your intention may have been that you just wanted to understand his actions. What he heard and perceived was that you didn’t trust or respect his judgment.
Another scenario – You are a young mom and it seems like your own mother continues to try and give you advice and tell you what to do. Her intention may be that she just “wants to help” and your perception is that she thinks you are stupid and can’t figure it out for yourself. After all, you ARE an adult and a mother! The truth may be that this is your mother’s way of still feeling needed and valued as your mom and has nothing to do with you, but your perception makes you get defensive.
It is important to look at the “whys behind the whats” of what people say, so there can be peace in relationships. In scenario #1, maybe you can preface your question to your husband by saying, “I am not questioning you at all, but I just want to understand why we are doing things this way.” Do you see the difference? In scenario #2, you can let your mom’s advice roll off your back and find some other things that you can ask for advice about, such as a family recipe, laundry questions or other things in her expertise. That can preserve the relationship and still fill her mother’s heart.
Another area of intention vs. perception is looking at your relationships that may not be going well. For some reason, you may be perceived as bossy, controlling, mean, self-centered, etc. You may not intend to come across that way, but for some reason, you are being perceived that way. Maybe your intention is to have things go well and you see areas where others are not doing what you would like them to do. Take an honest look as why they perceive you like that and be willing to make the necessary adjustments and maybe ask for their forgiveness, if you are willing. don'[t just get defensive and write them off. Never miss the chance to evaluate yourself. It can pay off with much healthier friendships you can both enjoy.
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil, Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, AS FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON YOU, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17-18
Now, I hope your perception of this blog is the same as my intention; to encourage and exhort, in the name of Jesus.