Gleanings – I Like Being Blind

John 9:18-41

“Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

Some of us cannot see. Physically it is not possible. Some of us can see. We are able but don’t. We are blinded, not by physical impediment but by darkness. This is a story about both.

Jesus gives a man who was born blind the ability to see. He can see physically. In the process he comes to see spiritually. “Lord, I believe.” And he worships him.

The Jews, however, can see physically. Their eyes work. But as John would say elsewhere, they are blinded by darkness. How dark the darkness must be for them to see the healing of a blind man as an occasion to attack both the healed and the Healer! In what context does that makes sense? Jealousy makes sense. Where is my healing? But anger and resentment? How dark the darkness must be for the unbelieving to want to remain there! They get it. They understand who Jesus is. But they are not buying. They double down on where they are. Their “guilt remains.”

At times we don’t want to be confronted with truth, with reality. We’ve managed to make the world work for us and don’t want anything to upset the fiction we’ve carved out.

Years ago a blind man made his living by selling pencils on a street corner. Ordinary compassion kept the sales going. An area physician who walked by the man regularly suspected the man’s sight could be restored. He offered the blind man a free exam and confirmed what he suspected. His sight could be restored with a simple operation. He offered to pay for that as well. The man thought about it but in the end said no thanks. He preferred to remain in darkness because he had managed to make that world work for him.

That is how powerful the darkness is. That in spite of seeing the benefits that would come with seeing we choose blindness. We rationalize. My anger works for me. I can use it to control a crowd and make people conform. My lack of compassion works for me. It keeps people from my goods. My philandering works for me. It keeps expectations low. My victimhood works for me. It keeps me from having to be responsible for myself. Darkness prevents us from being confronted by the truth and the change the truth demands. The Light, on the other hand, is all revealing.

Where are we choosing not to walk in the light of day?

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