Blind but now I see

Have you ever been metaphorically blind to something in your life, then later ask “what was I thinking?”. Oftentimes the truth, the right path, or even something incredible awaits us but yet it is almost as though we are blind to it. Brainstorming thoughts on the potential causes of this blindness:

  • Selfishness. We can be so focused on ourselves; whether it be our own pleasures or even needs, that we miss the bigger picture.
  • Fear. What we don’t know scares us so we avoid it.
  • Pre-conceived notions (invalid assumptions). For example, taking one bad experience or hearing about someone else’s bad experience we assume something will “always” be like that. Google some reviews on your favorite and most reliable restaurant or hotel and you’ll soon learn that someone has deemed the restaurant “low grade dog food”, and the hotel has bed bugs. My favorite here is beach vacation resorts when people say the mosquitoes were as big as birds, there was sand on the floor in the room (can you imagine?), or the walk to the beach was horrible – a whopping three minutes. Spoiled!
  • Arrogance. My way is probably better so why change?
  • Distractions. Follow your favorite baseball team through the playoffs and the World Series and you’re in for a minimum of 11 games (that’s if they sweep all three rounds). Assuming the team loses four or five games and each game lasts around three hours that is somewhere in the 45 hour range over the course of a few weeks. Not judging here; you’ll find me watching some baseball this post-season. The point is that we need to be cognizant of our distractions.
  • Carelessness. Just plain old “not paying attention” or not caring enough to pay attention.
  • Deception. Believing lies.

Today’s scripture readings include the conversion of Saul (Acts 9:1-19) and while this was true physical blindness, it is also a great example of one who was metaphorically blind to the truth of Jesus Christ but through a miracle, he came to see and believe.

Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; (Acts 9:8-9, 17-18)

One of the things I love about journaling is that it has challenged me to do a lot of self-reflection, and document some of the things of my past. This week I took some time to consider my prior “blind spots” and their causes. The list below is about a third of what I came up with in a short period of time. Writing this list gave me a greater appreciation for God’s mercy and grace in my life as there are so many areas where I’ve been blind to the truth and missed out on the joy that our lord and savior Jesus Christ has for me.

  1. beetsBeets. Okay, so it starts out light but it was the first thing that popped into my head. Quite a few years ago I claimed this was the only food I despised and wouldn’t eat. I was so blind… beets are colorful, nutritious, and delicious!!! They can’t be beat! If you’ve ever seen (or heard) me eat really good food, you know that I do find joy in some of the little things.
  2. Career. Opportunities were right there in front of me. My priorities were not in place. I was selfish, arrogant, careless, distracted.
  3. Tobacco. I “dipped” tobacco as a teen and through college. Literally throwing up upon trying it, I still went on to become addicted to nicotine. The habit of placing a known cancer causing substance between my lip and gums went on for years. Blindness.
  4. Frequently getting home from school and playing video games for countless hours, or procrastinating (or simply not following) other worthy pursuits. These distractions were detrimental to my education, and personal/professional growth.
  5. Recognizing friendships that were good and healthy vs. those that were toxic. Do your friends lift you up? Do they encourage you to follow the straight and narrow path or the path of destruction?
  6. This next one has been on my heart for a while, in part because of some of the marriages that I’ve seen fall apart. Too often I have been blind to my own wife; the person I voluntarily chose and promised to spend the rest of my life with, for better or for worse. It is blindness to not recognize her beauty inside and out, all the time. We (talking about humans in general) invest so much time into education, career, kids, and retirement but how much do we invest in our relationships with our spouses? Simply living in the same house and trying to get along is so not enough, it isn’t even funny. Sometimes I realize Amy is waiting for me to notice her, and I’m just blind. However, when I get it right and pay attention, I receive the most beautiful smile imaginable. She’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met and I’m so thankful for her. She is a true gift from God. Husbands: love your wives. Pay attention.
  7. What greater blindness is there than missing the significance of the cross? Upon Saul’s conversion he proved his belief by immediately taking action. If we are not actively sharing the gospel with those who are lost, what does it say about what we believe Jesus has done for us?

And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20)

What am I blind to now? Lord, please remove the scales from my eyes. Let me see my sin as you see my sin. Let me see others as you see them; lead me to love others more and myself less. Amen.

Judges 5; Acts 9; Jeremiah 18; Mark 4

You are [not] awesome!

Today’s reading: Numbers 4; Psalm 38; Song of Solomon 2; Hebrews 2

April 27th, 2016

pride puffed up

This is not meant to be mean nor an accusation, simply a truth that the deceiver would have us reject for a puffed up view of ourselves. You and I, we are not awesome. Psalm 38 is a great example of living by this truth.

David starts by acknowledging his wretchedness as he begs God not to chasten him in His hot displeasure. He then proceeds to address his hopeless condition, his self imposed troubles are too heavy for him. He proclaims God as his only hope, dismissing all the worldly places to turn to for refuge and help including his own self. As he stills himself, he begs God to hear him in the intensity of his troubles where a single slip leads to the advance of the enemy. He puts all his trust in God. Rejecting the world and himself. He needs God and he knows it. He knows God is the source for all good that he so desperately needs. Do you need God? 

Pride and Self Righteousness

Pride leads one to believe they do not need God. Self righteousness is the form of pride that takes this lie and projects it out in a way that attempts to steal what is God’s. Wherein self dares look out towards our fellows and up toward God as if to say “look at me.” 

Let’s define self righteousness in terms of God’s love. He so loved a wretch like me that He gave His only Son to save me while I was still a sinner. All the while He knew that I would take this amazing gift of His love and parade it around as if it was my own. He knew this and He still paid for me. He purchased me and you with His only Son. Praise God for His unconditional love! He is love! Self righteousness is pride that attempts to steal God’s goodness for ourselves. We are not worthy. (Revelation 4:11) Self righteousness is parading around as if you are a source of good. Do not be deceived. All good is from God. (James 1:17)

In George Whitfield’s famous sermon, Method of Grace, he describes self-righteousness as “the last idol taken out of your heart.” Many a scholar believe pride to be the great sin. Self righteousness then seems to be the worst sort of pride. Wretched and perverted stuff indeed. 


A false sense of ownership seems to be at the core of pride and self righteousness. You know your Bible and have understanding where another perhaps does not, are you doing better than they are? You gave that homeless person some food and shelter, you’re doing pretty well huh? No actually, God prepared that good work for you ahead of time. (Ephesians 2:8-10) It is His, not yours. (James 1:17) 

Did you know that the most used words in our language are I, me, my and mine? How ugly is that? Pride is to be hated. (Proverbs 8:13, Proverbs 16:5) Why does God hate pride? Why is God jealous? (Deuteronomy 4:24) Why does God guard His name jealously? (Ezekiel 39:25) God is love. If people are supposed to know we are His disciples by how we love (John 13:35), what happens when we try to have the source of that love point to us?


Extra credit:

  1. A simple exercise. Try to not use the words I, me, my or mine today.
  2. Self examination in pride. A checklist for self examination in pride: Manifestations of Pride from Exemplary Husband.
  3. Read George Whitefield’s sermon, Method of Grace, where he lays out the steps on how to obtain the peace that transcends all understanding among the devil’s worst attacks of self deception, including self righteousness.
  4. A question to wrestle with. Should we be praising each other? To win friends our culture points to praise and feeding another’s ego as go-to secrets to success, but what does the Bible say? Here’s one verse to consider in your study. Proverbs 29:5 What is the difference between praise and encouragement?
  5. Further readings on proprietorship in pride.
    1. All good is from God. What should we do when we receive false praise for good? One response to consider, redirect it to make sure it goes where it belongs by saying praise God
    2. God is sovereign. He owns it all. Learn this truth and be freed from the woes of comparison and jealousy.