Friday, November 11, 2011

Spiritual Astigmatism

Most eyeglass wearers can see at least some things reasonably well with the naked eye. Not so those with certain forms of astigmatism. Their eyes are unable to focus properly at any range; the whole world looks consistently blurry. 

Even those with 20/20 physical vision have some degree of spiritual astigmatism--an inability to see clearly what God really wants and what is the best path to take. The worst cases are those who firmly believe that their blurred view of right and wrong is in fact perfect vision, and are sure God is proud of them when they are as far from Him as they can be. The cartoon character Mr. Magoo, who had terrible vision and didn't even suspect it, was hilarious as he strolled along high ledges thinking they were sidewalks and couldn't understand why his soup was so thin when he tried to eat it with a fork he believed was a spoon; but there's nothing funny about "holy warriors" who look at women and children and see enemies of God fit only to be destroyed.

Jesus had similar problems with the respectable religious types of His day; God Incarnate was standing in front of them and they saw a despised heretic who was doing the opposite of what everyone knew God wanted. One can almost hear the sigh of frustration in His words: "In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them'" (Mt. 13:14-15). Once someone has made up his mind he doesn't need glasses, no amount of bumping into things or straining to read will convince him to wear them.

Some eye problems are more serious than astigmatism; people have literally gone blind from causes they never suspected were there until it was too late. That's why we're advised to have regular eye exams whether we "see" anything wrong or not. The spiritual equivalent is to "search the Scriptures" regularly and ask God to show us--ask Him in humble sincerity and total submission--how our lives and especially our attitudes measure up.

Anything less will eventually turn a sincere believer into a blind fool. 

Human hearts are dull of eye,
Lacking in the will to try
For a view beyond earth's things
To the glories Heaven brings.

Human hearts are slow to see
Visions of eternity;
While our Lord is near at hand,
Still we fail to understand.

Lord, my heart is dim in view;
I have failed to look to You
To fulfill my dreams and needs,
And I strive with earthly deeds.

Lord, forgive my faltering ways:
Give me strength to fix my gaze
On Your treasures kept for me:
Lord, please give me eyes to see!

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