Saturday, February 4, 2012


I drove by a house on my way to a hardware store a while back, and noticed that the house had a "FOR SALE" sign in the front yard. As I returned from the hardware store a few hours later, however, I noticed that the same sign in front of the same house now said, "SOLD." I thought to myself, "Wow! That was fast!" I didn't think much else of it.

Then a few days later, I was driving to the same hardware store and drove by the same house. This time, I realized that the SOLD label was missing, and it appeared the house was back on the market. Coming back from the hardware store, however, I was surprised to see that the house once again had the words SOLD boldly written across the FOR SALE sign.

Then it hit me...the house was both for sale and sold, depending on the direction from which you were looking at the sign. A quick glance in the rearview mirror confirmed this suspicion as I drove by. It struck me as a humorous demonstration of how critical perspective is, and how important it is to understand the other's point of view.

There could only be one right answer. The house couldn't be both for sale and sold at the same time. Certainly the sellers would want to make sure this was straightened out, and they would know which it was. It was either sold, or it wasn't. But you and I, depending on which view we had of the sign, would argue until we were blue in the face what we saw. We might even stand facing each other, with the sign between us, adamantly stating our case based on what the sign was telling us. Imagine the frustration! "Listen, buddy...I can read, and I'm telling you, the sign says SOLD!" "Oh, yeah! Well I think you need to get your eyes checked, 'cause I'm looking at the same sign, and I don't see no SOLD sign!" "You calling me an idiot, moron?" "Who are you callin' a moron, idiot!"

The problem is our perspective. Which of us is right? One of us is. But if we'd just take the time to see it from the other's point of view, we'd see the problem and realize that we both need new perspective. Only one person could tell us for sure if the house was really sold or not, and that would be the buyer! And even then, you might argue the buyer's bank...but that could derail the illustration, so we won't go down that road. Ed Young wrote:
Perspective is critical, is it not? We do not always have the understanding we need to correctly evaluate the world around us. Even those of us who are Christians are guilty of having a "flatland perspective" that does not take into account the wisdom of God. He sees things we cannot, and His understanding is infinite.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NIV84)