“The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how terrible that darkness will be!” — Matthew 6:22-23
One of the things that amazed Jesus was the chosen blindness of people. He wondered at those who chose to narrow their vision to what they wanted to see for themselves instead of choosing to expand their vision to match God’s. How else can you explain the Pharisees, who were acquainted with the “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” of God, condemning people as sinners and reveling in their punishment? Their light was darkness.
Psychologists have a label for this: confirmation bias. We focus on that which affirms whatever we want affirmed. The lyrics from some oldies phrase this in more poetic terms:
There is none so blind, As he who will not see; We must not close our minds, We must let our thoughts be free. –Ray Stevens
He’s as blind as he can be, Just sees what he wants to see, Nowhere man, can you see me at all? –– The Beatles
Our challenge as Christians is to choose to continually let Jesus expand our vision rather than use him to contract it. He met all people with an open mind, warm heart, and high hopes. About the only ones with whom he had any difficulty relating to were the religious folks who wanted him to validate their chosen blindness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”
The church Jesus imagined is a collection of diverse-in-every-way people who were themselves once blind but now see. Simply being with such folks opens up God’s world in vivid colors.
When you and I set foot in our faith community, what greater vision are we able to glimpse? How are we different people because of the different people we encounter, know, and love?