“Surely we are not blind, are we?” John 9:40
Blindness can take many forms. For instance, I don’t obey the rules very well. That is especially true about wearing seatbelts. There were only two circumstances in which I would actually wear a seatbelt: One, when the car had an incessant alarm system that would not ever cease going off until you buckled up. Just to shut up the irritating and incessant alert, I would put my seatbelt on. The second reason I would buckle up is when my wife would ride with me—for the exact same reason as I have already stated above.
Then about six years ago, I got a phone call when we lived in the Pacific Northwest from a church member who frantically told me that her daughter, Hannah, had been in a car accident a block from my house and asked if I could be there for her. I ran down the street and saw a ragtop jeep on its side, Hannah was in the back of a police cruiser, and the sheet-covered lifeless body of her boyfriend was lying on the shoulder of the street.
According to Hannah, they were taking the corner too fast on a rainy night and the Jeep rolled over, throwing her boyfriend, who was not wearing a seatbelt, out and then the Jeep rolled over the top of him. He died instantly.
My primary mode of transportation at that time was a ragtop jeep. Do you know what I started doing from that evening on—even when Lynette was not in the car with me? I buckled up.
Did I learn anything new that night that changed my behavior? New statistics? No. What happened to me? I realized I was being dumb. Did I learn something new? No.
Look at that word realize. What does realize mean? It means it got real to me.
Those of us who have spent decades in the church and have gone to Sunday School all our lives have a real danger of growing spiritual cataracts. We have been looking at the Bible since before Kennedy was president. We have been singing the hymns since they were played on the harpsichord. We have a huge advantage and with that advantage comes the danger of religious arrogance. And the more religious arrogant I am, the blinder I am to my own sinfulness.
Several years ago, I lost everything about my life except my family. That was when the emptiness of my faith got real to me. I had a religion, but I didn’t have an intimate relationship with Jesus. And I learned, the hard way, that religion without intimacy with God causes spiritual blindness.
It is so much harder for a birthright Baptist to admit that there are specific areas of distorted and unspiritual thinking present in our lives.
I talked with a counselor friend of mine recently and we discussed how the people that can actually be helped the most by Biblical counseling or soul care are those that are in deep pain in their life. Do you know why? Because they realize that life is out of control and that their best thinking has gotten them in the mess they are in and all of their illusions have been shattered.
I have to admit I’m blind in order to get the help I need because my deepest blindness is the blindness to my own blindness. Without some sort of activating event, that usually takes the form of pain, I will never realize what God is trying to say to me about my life.
I love what Frederick Buechner says,
God speaks into our personal lives, if he speaks anywhere at all. And if we were not blind as a bat we could hear him.
I need to hear from the Holy Spirit if I am ever going to see anything. And if I live for anything other than Jesus, I will fumble around in my spiritual darkness because I can’t see things clearly. I can’t see myself clearly. I can’t see the world clearly.
I need the anointing balm from the lips of Jesus on my spiritual eyes if I am ever going to see and live the life I desperately want.
I hope you realize that.
Because I spend so much time in the things of faith, I get jaded to the stillness of your sweet voice. I elevate the Bible to the fourth person of the Trinity. Sometimes I love the book more than I love the author. Forgive me, Lord. Anoint my eyes with the vital truth that I am your beloved son. That sometimes you would just sit in silence with me and enjoy my company. Help me to see that.