Sometimes we are blind.
The problem (for most of us) isn’t with the function of our actual eyeballs, the cornea or the retina or the optical nerve. Even age isn’t the major problem. In fact, you might say our physical sight is working all too well. We see – and judge – by appearances. We notice whether someone is well dressed or a bit rumpled. We notice if a man’s gut hangs over his belt or a woman has put on a few pounds. We pay attention to tattoos and piercings, scraggly beards, whether someone is balding or gray, stooped over or walking with a lively step. We notice the cars people drive, whether their yards are well kept, the images they post on social media, and the letters behind their names.
No, the problem for most of us isn’t with the health of our eyeballs. The problem is with the health of our hearts and how that affects our sight.
The Gospels tell a lot of stories about blindness – both physical and spiritual – and often a story about one sheds light on the other. Take this story from Luke 18: Jesus was walking to Jericho, and as usual, a huge crowd had gathered around him. The group came upon a blind man sitting on the side of the road, and when the man heard that Jesus was near, he started shouting: “Jesus! Master, have mercy on me. Mercy, Son of David!”
Now, think about this, this was late in Jesus’ ministry. The crowd knew he was a healer. Many of them were following him for exactly that reason. Did they try to make way so this man could meet Jesus? No, Luke says, “They rebuked him and told him to be quiet.” But Jesus ordered the man to be brought near and asked what he wanted. “Lord, I want to see,” he said. Jesus replied, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately, the man could see. He got up and “followed Jesus, praising God.”
So, who was blind in this story? The man on the side of the road, yes, but what about the crowd? Could they really see? Were the eyes of their hearts open? Did they recognize these men as “neighbors,” fellow travelers created in the image of God?
On our own, we are like Jesus’ followers. We lack compassion. We need Jesus to open the eyes of our hearts so that we might see people the way God created them – not as beggars on the side of the road – but as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in the family of God.
One of the reasons I can be so bold in asking you to partner with this ministry is because of the stories of healing I see on a daily basis. The blind see. The broken are made whole. Jesus is touching people’s lives. Miracles are happening. I am blessed to have a small part in the process, and I hope you are, too.