I think I knew I needed glasses for a while before I actually got them. It was hard to admit, though, even to myself.
I would sit on the couch and have to squint at the Tivo menu to read what programs were recorded, and eventually, I would give up and simply walk over to the television and look at it from a foot or two away.
Another time, I had picked some friends off at the airport and after I dropped them off, I realized I could not read the small green street signs to navigate my way out of their neighborhood. I think it took me about 90 minutes to get home, and it probably should have been 15 to 20. I finally found my way to I-5, and ended up getting back on down by the airport–after I drove through Barrio Logan with the doors locked.
The point being, I could not see well at night, or at any real distance, and I knew it. Yet I resisted getting glasses because I’d had perfect vision my entire life, and it was not possible I no longer did.
Glasses were for old people.
Then I realized, I am old people.
So I went to see an eye doctor my friend recommended, and after I got my glasses, I could not believe how much easier things got. I could read the titles on the Tivo menu from across the street–never mind across the living room. I won’t even mention how awesome it was to see street signs without stopping and squinting. Not that it helped me much with getting lost–anyone who knows me can attest to that.
The short version is that once I finally broke down and sought help, I could see again.
I think that’s what it’s like when we finally let down our guards, and let go of our inhibitions and preconceived notions about God and just ask Him to help us see.
I can remember when I finally did that. It had just gotten so frustrating (not to mention nearly impossible) to always see things in black and white, when a part of me always knew there was way more to life than that. But I was looking at life based on a set of sometimes flawed values that I had accrued over a life jam packed with all kinds of nonsense. Most of which was created by the lies I allowed myself to believe about God, about myself, and about the people I was continually made to interact with.
Black and white.
You’d think it would be easier to see things that way–in convenient terms I understood the definitions for. And in some respects, regarding some things, it is easier. Evil is still evil, and always will be. God is still good, all the time, and always will be. Beyond that, many things in life are not so clearly defined. Jesus allows us the freedom to choose the path we will walk. And ultimately, how clearly we see the world around us.
To me, looking at the world after allowing Jesus into my life was kind of like the scene in the Matrix where Morpheus sits Neo down and talks about the reality of mankind’s existence.
MORPHEUS: We are trained in this world to accept only what is rational and logical. Have you ever wondered why?
Neo shakes his head.
MORPHEUS: As children, we do not separate the possible from the impossible which is why the younger a mind is the easier it is to free while a mind like yours can be very difficult.
NEO: Free from what?
MORPHEUS: From the Matrix.
Neo locks at his eyes but only sees a reflection of himself.
MORPHEUS: Do you want to know what it is, Neo?
Neo swallows and nods his head.
MORPHEUS: It’s that feeling you have had all your life. That feeling that something was wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad, driving you to me. But what is it? The LEATHER CREAKS as he leans back.
MORPHEUS: The Matrix is everywhere, it’s all around us, here even in this room. You can see it out your window, or on your television. You feel it when you go to work, or go to church or pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
NEO: What truth?
MORPHEUS: That you are a slave, Neo. That you, like everyone else, was born into bondage… …kept inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind.
Outside, the WIND BATTERS a loose PANE of glass.
MORPHEUS: Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.
MORPHEUS: Hold out your hands.
In Neo’s right hand, Morpheus drops a red pill.
MORPHEUS: This is your last chance. After this, there is no going back.
In his left, a blue pill.
MORPHEUS: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.
The pills in his open hands are reflected in the glasses.
MORPHEUS: You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Neo feels the smooth skin of the capsules, with the moisture growing in his palms.
MORPHEUS: Remember that all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.
Neo opens his mouth and swallows the red pill. The Cheshire smile returns.
Science fiction, of course, and it is just a movie. But we do allow ourselves to be both blinded and deluded by the world. It’s easy because there’s nothing about it you have to challenge—you can just accept “how things are.” You don’t have to challenge yourself, or change, or grow. You don’t stretch your boundaries—you cherish them. And in the end, you get out of life with a PhD in complacency, and not much else.
But that isn’t the truth. Life doesn’t have to be “that way.”
There is more.
The truth is, once you have Jesus in your life, and heart, and mind, you see everything by a different sort of light than you’re used to. Everything looks different: people, life, politics, even the “world.” Not through rose-colored glasses, but through lenses tinted with the blood of a Jewish carpenter.
I think if we look at things—at life—through Jesus, then we see them in the way they’re meant to be seen.
We see the truth.
Consequently, it seems to be in the act of looking around at everything else that we become blind, or at the least distracted. Once distracted, it’s easy to believe what you hear—about yourself, about God…about everything. We become too concerned with labels, and less with the people we’re attempting to fit into our little one-or-two-word definitions. And if they do not fit into the little boxes we’ve created,
then we close our minds to them, and they are simply wrong.
To me, one of the worst things about it is that we deem ourselves worthy enough to judge the worthiness of others in regard to anything, and then we become so smug in our rightness, we can’t see God at all anymore, and aren’t even aware of it.
God judges: and no one is worthy.
All have fallen short of the only judge that matters (Romans 3:10 and 3:23).
Who am I to judge anyone else’s commitment to Jesus? Who am I to hold it up to mine, and find it lacking? Am I perfect, or do I walk perfectly with Jesus?
Not even close. Not a day goes by that I don’t need His forgiveness for something, though sometimes I have to remind myself to ask for it.
What makes me think I can judge anyone else’s patriotism, or commitment to their family, or that my methods for disciplining my children are better than theirs? I heard someone say on the radio not long ago that where we see people as obstacles, Jesus saw them as opportunities for ministry. Man, do I wish I could do that.
The plain truth is that the world and the things in it are so bright they fall over our eyes and cloud our perspectives until we ask and ask and ask God to take them away, so we can have eyes to see—to see each other the way He intended us to, through his eyes. So we can look at His people–even if they don’t believe—and realize he died for them just as much as for we who now believe.
Maybe even more.
Because He came not for the well, but the sick.
He came to give His life as a ransom for many.
He came to give us eyes to see.