Are you blind to the world’s realities?
At the heart of many crises in our world today is the crisis of blindness. We do not see the world as it really is.
We grow to hate and fear one another or, at the very least, we dismiss others as not worth very much. We tell ourselves that we would not go out of our way to get to know certain types of people. Perhaps they are fat or ugly or old. So why bother with them?
At the extreme end of our blindness, we wage war on one another and kill each other in the name of protecting our own small vision of life.
The problem of personal blindness is very basic for most people. This is because we are all locked up in our cultures, in our habits, even in our friendships, and the places where we grew up.
During our growing-up years, we assumed that what we saw and did was the norm. We supposed that most people saw and did what we experienced. This is especially true if we never had the chance to travel to different countries for any length of time.
The problem comes when we start placing judgments on others because they are different from us. We begin to see others only from the outside. Our shallow perceptions lead to judgments. Our judgments lead to separation and fear. When we live out of fear, anything can happen.
In the story of the blind man in John’s gospel, the Pharisees looked down on him after he could see. This attitude is clearly evident when they say to him, “You were born entirely in sin and are you trying to teach us?” Can you hear the arrogance and pride in their speech? They refuse to think that the man could teach them anything; they judge him to be a sinner since birth. They placed a huge wall between themselves and the man.
The nameless blind man represents all of us. His journey is our journey. He was blind but now he can see; he believes. The religious authorities put him on trial because he believed in Jesus as his Savior. What can we learn from this story?
The first lesson: Tell what you know. Your life was a blind alley before you met Jesus. Now you can see. These are simple truths. You do not have to be a learned theologian to make this profound point. Jesus changed your life!
Lesson number two is a harsher one: Do not expect support from family, friends, and neighbors. Those who have also met Jesus will see what you see. The rest will wash their hands of you. The people who are truly blind to life cannot testify to what they do not see. They will forget they even knew you!
The third lesson: Take confidence in the power of God’s Word. Do not repeat yourself. Those who can hear will hear the first time. Those who cannot hear will not hear the message, even if it is repeated ten times. The more you repeat yourself, the harder their hearts will grow.
The fourth lesson is serious enough to be funny: Your mature sense of humor in Christ will probably get you in trouble, especially among those who consider themselves religious authorities. Trying to teach the teachers will not impress or endear them to your cause either.
The final lesson: We do not meet Jesus only once. He is always coming around again looking for us. His Second Coming will complete his first arrival on earth. It makes no difference whether people throw you into the street or an early grave. Jesus will find you again. He knows where you live, if you live in him.