Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spiritual Blindness: A reflection on John 9:1-41

“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

This is a story of Jesus and a man born blind.  It is also a story of the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees. The blind man was seeing Jesus pretty clearly; the Pharisees were totally blinded to who Jesus is.  Who is really the more significantly blind in this story?

What causes spiritual blindness?  Let me give you a description, albeit extreme, of a life lived in darkness and spiritual blindness:
It is of an angry person; bitter at life’s mishandling of him; crusted over and walled off from others, with all meaningful relationships either tattered or shattered.   No peace… the joy of life gone.  He does not see that he is largely living the consequences of significantly bad decisions at crucial junctures in his life, and thus lashes out at others, often in subtle but hurtful ways, never seeing that the people around him are also broken, hurting and struggling.  He demonstrates little compassion and concern for others, only feeding his own self-absorption and growing narcissism.  Although a life-long churchman, he remains blind to the goodness and love of God.  His religion is an outward badge not an interior means of transformation, not a reservoir of answers to life.  In spite of being surrounded by a loving church family, he is like a pauper in a goldmine.  He does not respond in love, but remains emotionally detached and uninvolved in other people’s lives. 

Although this description of spiritual blindness seems extreme, the truth is that we all live our lives somewhere on a continuum between this sort of darkness and a life illumined by the Light of Christ.  The Christian pilgrimage is thus a journey of sight improvement.   Through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, our eyes are progressively opened to new and grand vistas of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  How is your eyesight?

Where are you on this continuum between darkness and light, blindness and sight?

Are you stuck in some significant way in a dark place in your world?

Are you seeking to be illumined by the Light of Christ?

In what way were you once blind and now see?

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