The Donkey With Green Glasses
Jesus said, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."1
"In the middle of Parable Land lived a donkey of medium age. He looked like a donkey … acted like a donkey … and sounded like a donkey. The unusual thing about him was that he wore a pair of bright green glasses, which he found while grazing, and thought they suited him very well. His behavior was very normal, except for when he met one of the other animals. The reaction was alarming; he went into a state of sheer panic and demanded they seek urgent medical help.
"Faced with such alarm, they usually did and always received a clean bill of health. It seemed that the trouble was those sunglasses. Everyone who was seen by the donkey looked very sick indeed."2
In a similar way we all wear tinted lenses that have been formed and shaped by past experiences that cause us to see things "not the way they are but the way we are."
For example, if a person has been hurt in the past and has a poor self-concept, he will have distorted lenses that will negate other people's words. If someone gives him a genuine compliment, he may misconstrue this and see it as a form of manipulation. If a woman, when a child, had an abusive father, she will tend to view all other men through the same lenses she saw her father. Or if a man, when a child, had a controlling or smother mother, he will tend to view all other women through the same lenses he viewed his mother. Counselors and communicators call this "selective distortion."
What we need to do is to look into a "relational mirror" so we can see the colored lenses we are wearing and the distorted view of life and of others that we have. This takes great courage and can be rather threatening. However, if we truly want to overcome "the donkey with green glasses syndrome," we can. Here's how:
1. Look at your overreactions, for whenever we are overreacting to a given situation, we are seeing things through colored lenses and are reacting on the basis of unresolved past issues.
2. Find a trusted, non-critical friend whom you can ask to point out to you whenever you are overreacting and are seeing things through past negative experiences.
3. Ask God to face you with the truth about yourself, and help you to see your colored lenses, and,
4. If necessary, see a wise, understanding and well-trained counselor to help you see your colored lenses and work through and resolve past hurtful and frightening experiences.
If we do this, our relationships and all of life will improve dramatically!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see any colored lenses that are distorting the events in my life and hurting my relationships, and to find the help I need to clear my vision so that I will see all situations as they truly are. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Jeff Daly, Encounter magazine (ACTS Australia), Issue No 4, 2005.
2. Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV).