Perception may not be everything, but impressions create an expanded version of the way something seems, making it seem real, making it seem true. A wrong impression, even with no basis in fact, grows to take on a life and spirit of its own. Try finding the end of that rope!
It is the same with the human perception of God. We perceive Him on a level we can relate to, that we can mentally comprehend. For example, the Bible contains accounts of numerous divine visitations, instances when the Lord or an angel or angels appeared to men and women. Those at the center of these experiences usually could not fully grasp them.
That is because the human experience demands explanation. So how do you explain the Lord appearing to you? When man in his humanity interprets the divine, both the explanation and perception are likely something inferior.
Similarly, people judge others according to what they personally would do under the same circumstances, or what they think they know about the facts in the situation, even taking liberties to change or add to those facts. It’s their perception.
And they judge spiritual matters, even God, in the same way—on their level, within their experience, limited by mindset and lifestyle, filtered by the mind; they interpret by their intellect, despite being factually limited about the heart of the matter or the heart issues involved.
Since mankind is like this, the Lord tells us to abstain from every form of evil, even the appearance of evil. While it is true that God knows the heart, and a relationship with Him is totally a heart matter, on the outside, among those around you, the human condition trusts in and takes its cue from appearances rather than the true heart of the issues involved.
Abstain from every form of evil—even the appearance of evil.