About a year ago, my husband, Wes, had cataracts removed from both eyes. He had the cataracts removed and the new lens implants done on each eye about a week apart, because he pushed the doctor to do it as quickly as possible. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to get surgery. He was excited because he knew what that would mean – no more glasses for driving or watching TV or doing chores around the house. He does need readers, but mostly he is eyeglass free.
God has a few things to say about how well we humans see things. And, while He isn’t above imposing literal blindness to make a point, as He did with Saul (Acts 9:3-9), He very much expects His children to strive to see with increasing clarity as we grow in understanding.
He wants us to look intently into His law and really see it for what it is – a law that is based on doing. James 1:23-25 [NIV] Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it--not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it--they will be blessed in what they do.
He want us to see Him in the creation around us. Romans 1:20 [NKJV] For since the creation of the world His invisible [attributes] are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
These things are for us, as His chosen in this age, to see now, though others will only see it later. Luke 8:10 [NIV] He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that," 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
But, perhaps the most important thing for us to see is our own selves – our hearts, nature and human tendencies. Revelation 3:17-18 [ESV] For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Short of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we are all “poor and blind and naked.” But even with His saving grace, we have to be willing to work at rooting out human nature and sin from our lives. To do that, we must be willing to really look at ourselves and see ourselves for the faulted creatures we are. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
We may be tempted to leave the spiritual cataracts on – softening the image of sin within ourselves and keeping us from bringing it too clearly into focus. Who wants to face a gossip, a liar, a prideful person, or a thief in the mirror? Yet, I understand that I must face a clear, focused reflection of myself if I hope to work on changing that image. God took the Laodiceans to task for not seeing themselves for what they really were. His indictment of them seemed to be more focused on their refusal to see their need for clothing and ointment than the simple fact that they needed it. Perhaps that is because, once we see our need for Him, the Father stands ready to provide change, to repair our damaged souls, to fill in the weak spots and make us spiritually whole. But we cannot fix what we cannot see.
I learned from experience if I ask God to show me any human pride or stubbornness or gossip or any other thing that He has convicted me to work on, that He will shine a bright light on it. Ouch, can it be painful to have our own human nature brought clearly into focus! Yet I must see it clearly or risk failure to remove it.
There is an old saying “there is none so blind as those who will not see.” It calls to mind Jeremiah 5:21. I don’t really want to see my sins and faults, nobody does. However, I understand that I cannot afford to be blind to them if I hope to grow in grace and truth.
If we are having trouble seeing ourselves, we can take heart the fact that we have a Sight-giver. Psalm 146:8 [NIV] the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
We can be encouraged by the fact that Jesus, when He walked this earth, healed many blind people. (See Matthew 9:27-28; 11:5; 12:22; 15:30; 20:30; 21:14) He is surely more concerned about our spiritual sight than He is about our physical vision.
After Wes’ cataract surgery, he told me he could see what a poor job he’d been doing on cleaning the floors – the dirt was much more visible to him now. With his better vision, he did a better job cleaning.
God works the same within us. He doesn’t show us the dirt so we can just be sad it is there. Rather, He shows us the dirt so that we can do a better job of cleaning up. We can be encouraged that the same One who will give us that clear vision of ourselves, also stands ready to offer forgiveness and the strength of the Holy Spirit.
May your vision be 20/20.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.