October 09, 2019 | Reflections by Kathryn Spicer
When I was a child, I would hear this story from John and think to myself, “These people are just dumb. Of course, this man didn’t go blind from his sins, or his parents’ sins - he’s just blind! He was born like that!” I’ll be honest, reading it as an adult, I’m often tempted to react the same way. But I’ve learned, it’s easy to recognize the obvious in stories, but harder to do in real life. We can easily accept the man is blind not because of sin but because of nature. It’s much harder to accept the defects we perceive in those around us as simply parts of their person, for better or for worse.
Last month, my grandfather died, and I saw most of my family over the several days after his passing. In emotional times such as these, it’s easy for someone’s traits you normally don’t notice, to become unbearable. I found myself thinking “Really, why are you like this?” about more than one family member, and I’m sure someone was thinking the same about me.
At first, it was hard for me to let go of those resentful thoughts. I wasn’t able to see, like the blind man, my family members were “just blind” each in their own way. One may have a boisterous personality which appears to be self-centered; another may be having a tough time with her grief and seemed to lash out; another may keep to himself and seem not to care.
This story reminds me no matter what you think may be wrong with someone, God accepts them for who they are. And it reminds me, no matter what I think is wrong with myself, God accepts me too. God sees all people as bearers of Jesus’ love for humanity, if we choose to live out that love. We can choose to accept God sees light and purpose in everyone, especially those whom society casts out. We can choose to forgive others for what we perceive in the moment as defects, but are really just parts of their character.
Through this Lent, I have tried to keep reminding myself of these things. I’m hopeful, maybe in time I can be a little more like Jesus as I perceive the “blindness” around me, and see it the way He did.