Filtered- Look, See, Pray

Showy, striking, spiky, and popular. Gladioli are one of the stars of a garden. They are never shy, rather they make bold statements “Look at me!

I thought this one was the exception that proved the rule. Pale pinks, lemony cream, hints of darker colour. I hesitate to say “insipid” because it was pleasant enough, in a pastel sort of way. Then I made a discovery.

The light that showed me the subtle shades also concealed something else. When I played around with filtering the light, the end result was different.

Filtering out the haze (ultra-violet wavelengths and the scattering effect of dust particles in the air) revealed depths of colour and visual texture.

Which is the “nicer” photo is a subjective choice. Which is more “accurate” is also a hard question- the ability of the human eye is different to the way the camera can record the light waves. As the photographer, I also made choices that affected the end result.

It’s a gladioli.

But what we see has been filtered- if you like, “interpreted,” to change our perception and influence our reaction.

My point is this. If a gladioli can be filtered and manipulated, it shows us that our understanding of truth and fair representation is not automatic.

We all apply “filters” to our life experiences. We sometimes only “see” what we expect to see. It can be a truly illuminating insight to discover that we can check the filters we use- and even change them.

Think about your “image” of God. How was that formed, shaped, influenced? Family attitudes and expectations help form our worldview. Education, work experiences, our friends, the intrusive nature of social media… Which of these has most influence? Have we been “photoshopped” without realising?

One of the most dramatic “filter” experiences was that of Saul of Tarsus. Utterly convinced he was right, he persecuted the followers of Jesus. On a journey to cause havoc in Damascus, a Light blinded him… and a Voice spoke to Saul. His life purpose changed; his whole direction altered, he even changed his name to Paul. Read the whole story in Acts chapter 9. The crucial moment came when a brave Christian went to see Saul, prayed for him, and his physical and spiritual blindness was healed: Acts 9:18 (NLT) “Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.”

As I end this post, I just wonder where we are blinded to truth… Which filters affect our sight. Photographers use UV filters and polarisers to try and get a “true image.” In our praying, thinking, and Bible reading we need to ask God to clear our sight, remove the wrong filters, and let the Light of the world shine clear for all to see.

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