Without even thinking about it, we all have points of reference that orient our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes a point of reference means a landmark, something that marks a boundary. Funny how easy it is in love, maybe in life in general, to overlook the landmarks that should be visible and so fail to set needed boundaries.
In law, a point of reference conjures up the thought of the reliability of a witness. There are the past actions of the witness, what others have to say about the witness, and then there are our own feelings and how we “see” the witness. They all add up to an evaluation of the credibility we give that witness. The bottom line is that if we determine the witness to be credible, we believe them. In love as in law we have to be careful of the weight we assign these feelings, as the heart is deceitful above all else. We would all like to follow our hearts, but must not be blinded by our self denial and deceit.
Point of reference can also be described as point of view, which is even move indicative of the fact that it is capable of being influenced by our perspective, our attitude, our opinions. Too often we mistakenly believe that our point of reference is something that is precise and does not change. Unfortunately, however, we cannot assume our view is either accurate or unchanging.
I have had a lot to share in the past about point of reference. Recently I shared how the parable of the talents would be different from the point of view of a manager than that of a father. I also considered what is important in the parable of the prodigal son, from the point of view of the father rather than that of the wayward son. In More on Point of
Reference and the Deceitful Heart I talked of givers and takers, with links to articles on the engineer’s point of reference (what RS-232 signals have to do with love) and giving light while avoiding emotional vampires.
But one thing that our point of reference depends on, as does every other comparison we make, is contrast. For there to be a difference between two things there must be a contrast between anything we compare. This contrast will show that one thing or the other is a better target, something we do or do not want to aim for. As a photographer, the term “contrast” has special significance. Basically, it refers to just how much difference there is between the lightest and the darkest portion of an image. The more difference there is, the higher the contrast, and in general, the different parts of the image are sharper and more visible.
To be able to see accurate contrasts, we have to have our blindness removed, take off our masks, and look at what we try to hide or escape from. Only then can we focus on what we need to change and improve. There will always be a contrast between where I am and where I want to be. I just want the range of possibilities and the contrast of the image to be the brightest possible – the most positive potential outcomes. But how can I accomplish this?
(1) RECOGNIZE that someone else’s point of reference is different from mine at any given moment. Examine myself, just what is my point of reference?
(2) LOOK at the range of contrast in my thoughts and actions, and how I relate to those I have relationships with. Choose the images with the most light and most positive possibilities.
(3) CHANGE what I need to change to move forward towards my goals and not run away or back up from them. Aim for the positive rather than try to escape the negative. Set a goal for the best possible, for God’s best for me and for others.