Thursday, March 21, 2019

But...who is to blame?

A man born blind - what resulted in his blindness? In the ninth chapter of John we find the story of a man born blind - forced to spend each day begging for something to fill his belly - something to provide for his welfare. The day he met Jesus was a day just like all the rest - yet it was soon to be unlike all the rest. He was in his usual spot for begging - awaiting a passerby with a tender heart who might put a mite or two in his cup. This day, as Jesus was passing by, his disciples pose a question to Jesus about the man's blindness. Their question centered on who had sinned - the man himself, or his parents. You see, we often see the 'disease' in another and wonder who is to blame for the 'disease' rather than to recognize the heart and soul buried deep within that disease. We see the outward and question why - Jesus sees the inward and provides answers that go much deeper!

Jesus then said, "I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind." (John 9:39)

They were doing what so many did in their day - equating his blindness to some sin condition. A physical ailment in those times was often equated with sin. It was either the sin of his parents, or his own personal sin, that they were asking about - focusing on the thing they thought answered the 'why' behind the blindness, but not even seeing the man deep insight those sightless eyes. Jesus' response was quite revealing - he told them that they were looking for the person to blame. So often, we look at ailments, diseases, less than desirable conditions and all we want to do is find someone to blame - usually not ourselves, but another. We want to place blame while Jesus is all about showing what God can do in a person's life. He tells his disciples not to focus on the "fault" or the "why" for the man's condition, but rather on what God can and will do with a yielded life.

The truth of the matter is that there are those who proclaim to have all the truth, while others simply know they don't. Some claim to "see", while others clearly know they cannot. What amazes me about Jesus is that he always uses the weak to confound the strong, the lame to counter the upright and haughty, the timid to undo the boastfulness of the bold. The blind man didn't even know who was standing before him that day. When he is encountered by Jesus, he is totally blind to the deliverer at his feet. He cannot give testimony to "who" or "what" made him blind. He cannot really say he "saw" his deliverer and reached out for his help. He just knew his 'condition' and he was 'looking' in the only way he knew how to 'look' for his help - with outstretched hands, seeking heart, and hopeful anticipation.

There are times in our lives when our blindness is what everyone sees. We "get by" in our condition of blindness, but we don't really flourish. We are stuck in the rut of simply looking for enough to get by for that moment or that day - reaching out, but not for the 'permanent' fix, just the immediate one. We don't really hope for deliverance from our blindness - we just live with it. We can be blind to our faults, our fears, and our failures. In our condition of blindness, we can do nothing more than "feel our way through life". Jesus wants more for us than just "feeling our way through life". He wants us to experience it fully - the way God intended for us to experience it from the beginning. The man's eyes were opened - causing him to announce with a certainty - "I don't know who this man is...but I do know this....Once I was blind....now I see!" That day opened up more than this man's eyes. He no longer had to return to the place of begging. He was free to come and go as he desired - no longer bound to going only to the places he knew so well - now his life was opened to the possibilities of experiencing new things.

That is what it is like to be delivered from our blindness - to stop focusing on who is to blame and to just reach out with anticipation and eagerness. When we stop trying to look for someone to blame for our condition, we are one step closer to being able to see what we could not see before. When we are open to the newness of experience that comes with our deliverance, we can see that the "truth" we thought we once knew is now enlarged by our fresh vision - we see clearly for the first time what had always been there, but we just never saw. There is great deliverance at your feet - will you trust Jesus to touch you? Will you seek to see rather than to just know why it is you cannot see? Just askin!