Summary: Spiritual blindness comes in many forms, and often we don’t recognize it’s symptoms in us.
3/2/08 John 9:1-7 Here’s Mud in Your Eye (Ephes. 5:8-14)
A man born blind is made to see again by the simple touch of Jesus. This thought and Scriptural story has been made into countless sermons, devotionals, and hymns. “For once he was blind, but now he sees” and immediately we all think of the stirring words of “Amazing Grace.”
But as we read the words, sing the lyrics, and hear the sermons each time this passage is used those of us who are not new to the faith realize that although a physical blindness was healed, Jesus was using the text to talk about a spiritual blindness He saw in the Pharisees…and perhaps the same blindness that exists at times today in all of us.
Spiritual blindness….being unable to see God’s Spirit, being unable to see God comes in a million different ways. There are, of course, those who simply have not heard God’s Word either spoken, or seen it lived through us, and so they are simply ignorant of any knowledge of God. But there are those who know His word, know His presence, have seen His hand at work, and willfully refuse to acknowledge the Spirit. For some this happens on rare occasions, for others it is a purposeful choice each day that they live. Because you see the main reason I think it happens is because to see God, to have your eyes opened, to believe with your heart the words you have read with your eyes, MEANS YOU HAVE TO CHANGE. It means you have to give up a part of yourself, and listen to Christ to the point where your own will, your own opinions, your ways of life have to be changed. And you see, that ain’t easy my friends.
Several years ago, as I was just beginning my serious study for ministry, I became friends with a woman about my own age, and in similar circumstances. She was a single mother of two middle school age boys. She wanted the best she could provide for her children…as we all do. Through several promotions at work she had risen to the level of middle management, and was finally at a place where it seemed her salary would make life a little less stressful. She was able to pay the bills, put a small bit aside for “emergencies”, and even be able to indulge the boys once in a while with the purchase of one of those “necessities” young teens seem to absolutely have to have. But she came to me after a year or two of friendship and said she felt she was in a “cache 22.” Her dilemma was that her job, which paid her the salary to afford to support her family and pay the bills, was also keeping her away for 10 hours a day, with a 6 day work week occasionally. She simply could not see her way out, but she also realized that she wasn’t seeing her boys, and never seemed to have time to enjoy her home -- all of which were made possible by the job that was causing this cache 22 problem. She felt she was in a no win situation, with no vision of how to make her situation any better. Her job had almost become an obsession and her efforts to gain all the things for her family had become the enemy of everything she loved most. She looked at me and said, “I’ve lost sight of everything that matters most!”
Her physical eyesight worked perfectly, but she was blind to allowing God to work within her. It wasn’t that she had lost her faith, or had stopped believing, it was just that she had become so wrapped up in what she believed was the only way to care for her family, that she was blinded to even the POSSIBILITY that God may have another solution.
Truthfully, at the time, although I sympathized and listened to her with compassion, I didn’t have any magic answers for her. But the good news is that one day about a year later she walked into her office, packed a box with her personal things, and quit her job. She quickly found another job, paying much less than her previous one, but one that allowed her to spend every evening and weekend with her boys. Yes, they changed their lifestyle a bit because I could see it got incredibly better… her sons seemed happier, she seemed happier, and her faith took a giant leap forward. Somehow God working through her changed her priorities in life. Expensive clothes, computer games, fast food pick ups, and vacations were replaced with time together, home cooking, and creative camp outs in the back yard.
Every one of us cares a great deal about our families, our community, and our church friends. Every one of us wants the very best we can offer to all of them. But we cannot allow ourselves to get so caught up in the “things” of caring that we become blind to the “reasons” of caring that God wants us to know.