The Deception of Perception
Acts 28:3, But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
It is interesting that people who do not have the mind of Christ tend to regard perception is reality. In the absence of truth only superstitions and simplemindedness remain.
Notice how quickly the people observing Paul changed their opinion based on what they saw and perceived as reality.
Paul experienced shipwreck and ended up on the island of Malta warming himself by a fire.
When the snake fastened onto Paul's hand, the people perceived that Paul was cursed. However, when Paul shook off the snake and showed no ill effects of snakebite, the same people perceived that Paul was a god! At 9 o'clock he was cursed and by 10 o'clock Paul was a god! This is the deception of perception. It is one of the hallmarks of people who neither follow Christ nor live through faith in God's word.
The moral to the story is very simple and profound: it only matters what you know about God and yourself. It does not matter what people see, perceive, or say.
Learn to be like Paul, not like the people of Malta.