Yesterday I was driving south on the M1. A lorry passed me (not an unusual occurrence in my old car). The rear panel displayed a sign, “Blind Spot. Be aware.” How nice to be forewarned, I thought. The lorry knows its blind spot and is letting me in on the secret. Helpful information for the careless pedestrian, distracted cyclist or over-hasty motorist.
Sadly, I am not always so clear as to the location of my ‘blind spots’. I suppose that’s why they’re called ‘blind’! The people of Jesus’s day were no different. The leaders thought they could see clearly to lead others when they could not, “…they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”” (Matthew 15:14 NIV11).
And ‘ordinary’ people needed warning too, ““Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?…You hypocrite…” (Luke 6:41 NIV11)
So how do we avoid blind spot blindness? Perhaps these two considerations are worth thinking over:
- Look at Yourself. That seems to be the nub of what Jesus wants his hearers to grasp in the passage from Luke 6 above. We are told, “first take the plank out of your eye.” Self-awareness is something Jesus expects us to cultivate, and he is willing to help. He is constantly in training-mode with his disciples asking them questions, helping them sift their motives and encouraging them in self-enquiry. Let us not say we do not have that help today. Jesus is with us, and in us (Jn 14.23). Blind spots are banished by pausing to pray and ask God to reveal them to us.
- Listen to Your Friends. I hope you are lucky enough to have truth-telling friends. We need them and we need to be them for others. It is in “speaking the truth in love,” (Ephesians 4:15 NIV11) to one another that we grow in maturity – as does the church body. Hearing words of truth is one thing – really listening is another entirely. How do we discipline ourselves to listen? We focus our minds and hearts on the benefits and blessings of discipline, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20 NIV11) Blind spots lose their destructive power when we see them in the mirror of advice.
Of course our self-awareness may be off, and our friends’ advice may be inaccurate. What do we do then? We entrust ourselves “to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV11). If our hearts are right, all big blind spots will be revealed in time.
Drive safe, watch out for those blind spots, but don’t get paranoid about what you can’t see. God sees all, and loves you as you are. He will let you know what you need to look at when the time is right.