Jesus, through insight discovered in John’s Gospel, persistently challenges us to acknowledge our blindness but always with an invitation to see (again). If someone were to ask the author of John’s Gospel to define the word “sin”, the author would point to blindness. “Sin”, he might say, “is less about moral failure and more about refusing to see the gift of God’s revelation, standing right there beside you.”
Last Sunday, Braxton and I shared a conversational sermon based on John 9. The story begins with a portrait of one blind person, standing in a room full folks that all believe they possess 20/20 vision. In reality, every last one of them are afflicted with a form of blindness. By the time we reach the end of the story, one of many blind folks in the room receives tangible sight, others are brought to an awareness they are only beginning to see, and then there the others that refuse to acknowledge their affliction. (John 9)
As we continue to reflect and pray on what Jesus is revealing through his encounter with the man born blind and the religious “faithful” (Disciples of Jesus. Pharisees, etc.)
- How would you know that Jesus is present with you? Do you “see” Jesus in your life? If so, would you feel comfortable sharing this with your small group, Sunday School Class, circle of trusted friends, etc? In a similar light (bad pun….sorry), what if you’re struggling to see Jesus? Would you feel comfortable sharing this with your small group, Sunday School Class, or circle of friends? What might happen if you took the risk in sharing? If you’re not comfortable talking about this with “your people”, what is it about the culture of your trusted circle that fuels the hesitancy to share?
- Where are your spiritual blind spots? Can you name the source(s) of the blind spots? Is there a member of your faith community, or even a new friend, you might be willing to explore the topic with? What risks are involved in sharing? What is at risk in not taking this risk?
- When/if we come to acknowledge our blindspots, however that happens, how do we push past the guilt and shame that so often surfaces in that process?
- Is it possible that seeing Jesus first gives us the unique ability to see others through his eyes? If that’s possible, if we see people through the eyes of Jesus, how might this new way of seeing transform the destructive spiral we’re all experiencing in society as we know it? What’s at risk if we continue to walk in the blindness?
- As you deliberately engage with strangers and friends alike, what is Jesus revealing to you….about yourself, about your assumptions of others, about the nature of our hope in God’s promise to bring the Kingdom of Heaven?
- Is it worth the risk in sharing aloud what Jesus has revealed through newfound sight…..with a family member? with a co-worker? with a new friend? What is at risk in the refusal to share? What would the fruit of transformation look like, in your own life, if you leaned into a relationship based deliberately on spiritual sight/formation?
- Can you think of someone that is clearly experiencing the presence of Christ in their lives? If so, is it worth the risk in setting up a time and asking them to share what they’re seeing?
May we have the courage and wisdom to ask for help in the discovery of our blind spots, and the wherewithal to forge relationships with others that long to see (again). May we take the risk in testifying with humility, “I don’t know…..but what I do know is this….I was blind but now I see“.