By Diane Houghtaling

My brother, sister and I were raised by the same parents in the same family, yet my sister has a totally different view and perspective of what it was like growing up in our family.

My brother and I were born to my parents when they were younger. We were raised here in the country on a farm. We were constant companions and our parents were always around. We worked together and did things together as a family. We knew we were loved.

My sister was born years later when I was twelve and my brother was ten. I helped raise her for her first six years and she was very dependent upon me. But then I left home and a few years later our brother left home.

My parents sold the farm and moved to Texas when my sister was ten. Now she was being raised as an only child by older parents. A week-long visit every couple years wasn’t enough to build sibling relationships between us. That didn’t come until years later as adults.

When my family left the farm they moved to a city where both my parents worked outside the home. So my sister was basically left on her own to care for herself. She didn’t get to have the daily family times that we grew up with. She didn’t always feel loved.

Consequently my sister’s perspective of our parents and growing up was much different from mine and our brother’s. It is funny how people raised in the same family by the same parents can have a totally different perspective of life. Were our parents loving parents or not? She eventually saw that they were.

Our perspective is shaped by our culture, backgrounds, environment and our values. How we view life passes through the lenses of all our prior experiences. So even if a group of people see or experience the same thing, they can all have a different interpretation of it.

With so many different perspectives and viewpoints even among those raised in the same family, how can we know what truth is and the right perspective?

Because we do see things so differently, we need a perspective and a truth that is constant and never changes. Malachi 3:6 says, "I the Lord do not change." Isaiah 45:19b says, "I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right." Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

God’s word, the Bible, is the truth that never changes. As we read His word we gain Christ’s perspective and can know the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). We may have different viewpoints and interpretations as we view scripture through our life perspective, but God’s Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

Hope Ministries Inc. is a Christian counseling center. If you want to speak confidentially with someone, call us at (845)482-5300.