WORDS FROM W.W. April 29, 2010
I’m into the progressive phase of my life . . . progressive lens in the eyeglasses. With the tilt of my head, I can do two things at once—I see clear enough to read what I was taking my glasses off to read before (because of my near-sightedness). I also look like an old man while I’m doing it. Some would say that the second thing is true regardless of my glasses. (You know you’re getting old when you decide on which restaurant to go to on the basis of whether or not they have a “senior menu.”)
Despite the improvement in eyesight I’m still flawed sometimes in being able to tell what is what. Eyeglasses don’t correct color blindness. When different shades of certain colors are close together I can mistake a green sign for a red placard. The fall colors aren’t that big a deal for me!
So I see what I see, helped or hindered by the lens I look through, sometimes confidently moving forward only to be fooled by what I thought was there but isn’t. To be sure, wearing my own glasses is not nearly as likely to cause me to fall off the side of a cliff as wearing someone else’s lens, but it does sometimes fool me into thinking my eyesight is 20-20.
Let me try this idea on for size! A dangerous principle to live by is reading God through our lens. Our eyesight, with or without corrected eyeware, is flawed and distorted. I sometimes see what I desire to see, and block out the contradictions.
“Why let the truth interfere with my vision?”
It goes against our thirst for control. It’s like that saying: “Hire a teenager…while they still know everything!” Most of us still think we know everything, we’re just more refined in how we share that fact with others. We give it different sounding names like “self-determined”, “street smart”, “wise beyond his years”, “self-confident”, “taking the bull by the horns”…resume’ sounding language like that.
Part of the spiritual unrest and whining today is related to “the lens” we confine our view to. The value of the people of God is in understanding that each person sees some of the picture, but not the whole scene. Most of the struggles that are a part of the church, and dare I say each person’s spiritual journey, involve too much confidence in my own sight and not enough confidence in what others are seeing. Suddenly the path is splotched with the blood of those who didn’t want to heed the warnings of a stone on the trail, or a lower tree branch that causes a “face plant.” I may not have seen the pitfalls through my lens, or didn’t want to see them.
Reading God through our own lens is a little like a 6 year old looking at the dinner buffet table that he can choose from. The vegetables are safe from being chosen, while French fries, tater tots, corn dogs, fried chicken legs, and everyone of the desserts do not escape his vision. He sees what he wants to see. (It’s one reason my wife won’t take me to buffets any more.)
Just to clarify! This does not mean that I’m not correct in my decisions. I’m just not correct all the time like I think I am.