As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth… Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. – John 9:1,6-7
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. – Isaiah 29:18
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; – Isaiah 35:5
to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. – Isaiah 42:7
I don’t get migraines often, but I know when one’s coming my way. As I’m reading, and can’t ‘see’ what’s on the page, I usually wait a bit. What comes next is a shimmering ‘halo’ slowly growing in my vision. I’ve learned taking 2-3 Tylenol before the halo disappears prevents a whopper of a migraine where simple movement makes my head pound, and my vision is blurred. Unlike the blind man in John 9, my ‘blindness’ is temporary. His blindness was forever, or so he thought.
We’re living right now where spiritual blindness is becoming increasingly evident. Things in this country have been going on ‘right under our noses’ and we seem unaware of it. But many created in the Imago Dei have been dealing with it generationally. Certainly, there are those who’ve been able to excel despite it through their own efforts, or in concert with the backing of family and friends. They’ve skirted the oppression. But, as many haven’t experienced it, many more have. And we’ve not seen it.
This blindness, for many, isn’t intentional. They’ve lived lives where paths haven’t crossed, and they haven’t purposefully suppressed in work or life, persons of color. Many of us are the recipient of ‘invisible’ or ‘unintended’ privilege because of how we appear. Like the blind man in the story and his blindness, there’s nothing we can do about our skin’s appearance. And, just like the blind man in this story, many who suffer this oppression can’t change their own situation. They find ‘lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps’ impossible. The American Dream isn’t theirs.
While turmoil stirs and rumbles around us, with justice being sought, deep search your heart. Grab the horns of God’s altar and pray earnestly to surrender your lack of vision for God’s. Go for God’s Tylenol! Pray with open hands and hearts for God to peel off the scales so you ‘see’ what’s happening around us. And, like the blind man, experience the joy of healing from blindness! Don’t be the one spoken of in James 4:17. See the oppression through God’s vision, and once you begin to ‘see,’ ask God to help motivate you to personal change.
NOTE: If you’re interested in a good book that will begin to help you ‘see,’ read “The Cross and the Lynching Tree”, by John H. Cone.
By Rich Obrecht