Brave men cringed and tender hearted women wept at the hanging of Randal Batey. As this evil bad man finally received his just punishment some turned away or fainted dead away!

Well, not really, but it sounds good and now that I have your attention, let me tell you the "real" story about the hanging of Randal Batey. Much of life is about perceptions, isn't it? It is how we perceive the world around us or how we perceived the laws that regulate our lives and our universe. (Perceive is defined as: "to attain awareness or understanding of or to regard as being such as "perceived threats." A synonym would be "to see or behold.")

What does this have to do with the hanging of Randal Batey? Actually a whole lot! My friend Randal lives in Flint, Michigan. He has a large plot of land and enjoys the native wildlife. He and his wife, (Fran) especially enjoy the birds that flock to the bird feeders they have in the back yard.

Let me set the scene now: Several years ago he built a swing set for his grandchildren out of 4 inch by 4 inch timbers. He left part of the top beam stick out on the end and he hangs his bird feeders there. A few weeks ago he noticed he needed to refill the bird feeders. He got his bucket of seed and headed to the feeders. He pulled a nearby lawn chair up and climbed up and began filling his bird feeders.

As he was doing this, he noticed a police car drive around his house in the direction he was working. He said he immediately began to wonder what he had done wrong that would cause the police to come and pay him a visit. He continued with what he was doing and the police officer finally stopped the car and got out. When she came over she was laughing and he asked how he might help her. She said that she didn't need anything, she was just checking on him, because from the road it looked as if he was hanging himself!

We all laughed as he told the story! He said the funny thing was that they got a call a few days later from an old friend who had heard he had died and was calling to check on his wife.

It's all about our perception! Those things we see, observe or behold and then interpret in our lives based on what we think we see or understand. The sad thing is that often what we think we see, observe or understand has little to do with reality. Our perception is limited by how much we see or observe and often by our prior understanding of things.

Let's apply this concept to religious things: Many of the things people today believe about God, the Bible, Jesus or religion is based only on their limited perception. Those things which they have seen or observed, are skewed by their limited vision or understanding. The police officer didn't really know what was going on until she got close enough to see things clearly. The problem with many people and religion is that they never bother to get a closer look. They base all of their understanding upon a casual observation or from a distance. They make decisions which will affect their lives for an eternity based upon often faulty perceptions.

Let me give you an example from God's Word of how it ought to be. Luke wrote the following:

We all laughed as he told the story!

That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the synagogue. And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did some of the prominent Greek women and many men. (Luke 17:10-12 NLT)

The hanging of Randal Batey was real in the mind of that Officer of the Law for a terrible few moments until she saw clearly. What terrible things or misunderstandings might be in your life and separate you from what God is truly all about? Maybe you need to take a closer look at what he is really all about, up close and personal as they say!