My youngest son, Joel (ten years old), grounded out yesterday.

I found him holed up in the basement gunning down grunts on Halo reach. He’d already eaten up his daily gaming allotment, so I made the call: “You’re done, buddy. Turn it off.”

He burst into tears, face contorted by the sting of indignation. “But dad, I have five minutes left!”

Five minutes.

He was crying over the spilled milk of five measly minutes, as though his best friend had just died, then moved away, and then joined a Barbie cult.

Talking about losing perspective. I decided to serve him some. “Joel, if you’re that bent out of shape over five minutes of Halo, it’s clearly too important to you, so you’re off gaming for awhile.”

Death, death on a stick. His body snapped rigid, back arched, electrocuted by the injustice foisted on him by his heartless father.

“Uh huh. Put it away, bud. Now.”

Without perspective, life flips into roller coaster mode. Growing up, even as we lose our childhood innocence in the face of pain and evil, helps us embrace a more realistic perspective on life. You can’t lose perspective you never had. Satan knows this and schemes tirelessly to help us misinterpret our own lives. To keep us from gaining a healthy perspective in the first place. That said, if by the grace of God we happen to gain some godly perspective, the devil doesn’t lie down in defeat. No, he wages war on our hard-won perspective, trying to wrestle it from our grasp so he can bury it deep within the bloated landfill of discarded ideas.

Our perspective can free us or bind us, propel us or paralyze us. It’s critical to realize that our philosophy of life is an evolving theory, a collection of incomplete hypotheses continually being tested and modified in the face of our experiences.

When faced with a crisis, the question posed by the graphic is right on: Will this matter a year from now? But never mind a year. Try two days, even two hours. Halo is not life itself, little man. The sooner you learn that, the better. 

Oh, but we hold on to our current (imperfect) perspectives like final rations on a desert island. We stumble through life clutching our half-baked ideas, tripping over the issues created by our flawed perspectives, unwilling to adjust unless we absolutely have to.

A teachable spirit, on the other hand, delights in being wrong because wrong builds a stepping stone—not to right, but to better.

Which is one of many reasons why I love the Bible.