Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Blind Leading the Blind

Can a blind man lead a blind man? Luke 6:39

What a picture that verse stirs up in my mind. 

I have a precious friend who is blind.  She astonishes me regularly with her capacity to do things I would kill myself doing with my eyes closed.  She cooks complete meals, washes dishes, runs on her treadmill, does laundry, and takes outstanding care of her husband who has an acquired brain injury.  (I still have no idea how she toilet trained her two girls...)  Joanne is a joy, a delight and a wonder.  But I wouldn't want her to drive me to the store or lead me through a labyrinth of booby traps.  Without physical eyesight, one is in no position to lead anyone anywhere. 

Of course, Jesus wasn't discussing physical sight in this passage from Dr. Luke's gospel.  Right after what seems like an obvious question, The Savior begins his famous plank/speck sermon.  You remember the gist: Don't judge, don't condemn, forgive and stop trying to take the speck out of your brother's eye when you've got a piece of wood the size of Manhattan in your own.  Pondering this familiar passage, here's what I'm thinking:

I see people every day through the lens of my own sensibilities. Someone claims to be spiritual, yet gathers material wealth in a way I don't like.  Judgement.  I am slighted or hurt by someone, so I label them insensitive or nasty.  Judgement.  Someone is suffering because of their own sin.  I shrug my shoulders.  Judgement.  And while I judge, I feel the darkness close in on myself.  My own failures, sins and folly, far more grievous than the ones I pick at in others, rise up to haunt me.  Perhaps that's what Jesus meant when He said "judge not, lest you be judged..."  He knew the natural result of blind judgement is the weight of our own wreckage.  Oh how beautiful is the sting of the word of God!  It pulls us from our shipwrecked souls into the light of understanding, repentance and mercy! 

The truth is, we are unable to even recognize our own darkness, never mind that we arrogantly try to grasp the vast, unsearchable heart of another human being.  Never mind that we have no idea what sorrows, loads or injuries they bear.  When we judge another man, we are the blind leading the blind, bumping around and getting hurt and hurting others along the way.  What does the Great One say to us in the face of this?

"You hypocrite (ouch), first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the SPECK from your brother's eye."  God, it seems, doesn't want anyone blind.  Not from a plank.  Not from a speck.  Once we deal with our own judgemental, self righteous, crummy attitudes, then we can very gently, as you would with a little kid, try to get that annoying piece of dirt out of someone else's eye.  Not to hurt them.  But to help them.  So both can see.  So both can love.  So the blind don't lead the blind. 

I am so very grateful for the continued speech of the living word of God.  When that blind man in me takes to judging, my sweet Jesus takes to correcting.  He takes to healing me, so I can maybe, tenderly, help someone else.  Via the pilgrim road of love...not the blind alley of judgement.

On a lighter note, my cats have become killing machines lately.  The tally of chipmunks, rabbits and moles is rising.  Wish I had a nickle for every carcass in my yard...

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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