Are We Blind?

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With elections just around the corner, zealous believers rant about the fools on the other side. “Why can’t they see the kind of person that candidate really is? Are they blind?”

Just what is it that makes the other person so blind? Culture is one influence. People have a need to have “one of their own” succeed. We see this every day in our push to find heroes from our own walk in life. “If he can succeed, maybe I can too.” “If he can be so favored by God, then maybe God could love me, too.”

Another influence is our expectations. We expect the Democrats to push one policy, the Republicans to push another way. We believe a Mormon or a Catholic, or an Evangelical will call for policies that match their religious views. Unfortunately, too many of us are convinced that only one group – our group – sees the truth.

In some places, fear or distrust of authority or peer pressure will dictate behavior. “If I speak my mind, I will be punished! If I admit to that belief, I could lose my job!” Or on a less violent level, “If I tell my parents, I’ll be grounded for life!” “If I stand up for what I believe, I will lose my friends!”

Some people are swayed by their own agenda. We may distrust anything that comes from an opponent because we are sure they have a hidden plan. Or perhaps it is only self-interest. How many times have you heard the expression, “What’s in it for me?”

All these forms of blindness plagued the Son of God’s ability to communicate the Father’s loving plan. The blind man in today’s Gospel was able to see Jesus as who he really was – the Messiah. The disciples, while they were zealous followers, still did not see this. So who was really blind?

Perhaps a better question would be, “Am I also blind?” The problem with this kind of blindness is that we seldom recognize it in ourselves. Like the apostles, we tend to have our own expectations. We say we follow Christ but, like the apostles, we have our own agenda. Many of the followers at that time were locked in to the concept that Jesus was an ordinary human – a simple carpenter from Nazareth. True, he spoke wonderfully well and helped them get a richer understanding of their Jewish faith, but that hardly made him God in their eyes. He wasn’t even a priest. While they were present when miracles happened, they didn’t really see them. They were so wrapped up in what they wanted and expected, that they weren’t open to God’s message.

Most of us church goers today have the opposite problem. We want to pigeon-hole Christ and the saints as somehow not really human. It insulates us from having to face our own fallen lifestyles and failings. If we are human and they are not, we believe we are somehow excused from trying to be more fully followers of Christ. It is a form of blindness, but is one of our own choosing. Like a fanatic voter, we don’t want to see the other side. We don’t want to hear a truth that is different than the one we have chosen. If we admitted it, we might have to change our ways, and we aren’t ready for that. Yes, we are blind, but we still can change. Isn’t it time for us to accept Jesus as both man and God? Isn’t it time to pick up our mats and follow Him?

Linda Crowley