It is confusing for many, but it should be clearer to all of us how we see the events of our lives.
What is equally true is that what we don’t see matters even more. What blinds us here in Liberty County — and in many communities — from seeing things as they truly are? If we all look at this question in a serious way, we may open up a whole new way of experiencing life and answer questions that many of us carry.
We may be familiar with Mark 10:46-52, which centers on blind Bartimaeus begging on the side of the road amidst a multitude of people in Jericho. When Bartimaeus heard people say that the reason for the crowd gathering was the approach of Jesus, he stood and cried out “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” The people surrounding Bartimaeus warned him to be quiet, but he cried out all the more. Then Jesus commanded him to come forward.
Bartimaeus made his way to where Jesus stood, and Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, “Rabbi, that I may receive my sight.”
“Go on your way, your faith has made you well,” Jesus said.
And immediately, Bartimaeus received sight and followed Jesus on the road. It seems to be a typical healing tale, but the story goes much deeper. Who is blind in this story? Bartimaeus is the only one who really understands, or “sees,” the power of God working through Jesus. The rest of the crowd just doesn’t get it.
There are plenty of examples in God’s word of the few who get it and the many who don’t: the disciple Peter recognizes that Jesus is the messiah, but fails to understand what a difficult calling he is facing; Pharisees try to trap Jesus on fine points of law and become so rigid and narrow-minded that they forget the heart of God.
These are just a few examples of people who were spiritually blind. This section in Mark is a reminder that what we don’t see is more important than what we do see.
In contemporary terms, life today is even more complicated. Many of us have questions that are rarely mentioned so we don’t embarrass ourselves in our congregations and among friends and family. One of the great temptations today is to become so rigid and narrow-minded in our thinking and decision making, we can’t relate our decisions to God’s word.
We tend to see things as we want to or be pushed to see something else. The danger of this is that we risk our future at the time of judgment, no matter how many good things we thought we did, and we ask and satisfy ourselves with the thought of, “Don’t all the good decisions I made outweigh the bad?”
There are pivotal times when we approach decisions that may affect God’s judgment when we stand before him. When we make decisions based solely on previous circumstances — what our grandfather and fathers did, what is cool to others — to be accepted by our peers, are we blinded by our own self-worth? Do we later hold ourselves in self-made prisons built by our own mistakes and think we are doomed? Do we depend on His grace, or do we think and pray about it so that we become enlightened?
There are many issues in our community right now, such as employment, survival of family values, existence in hard times, sudden life changes due to health reasons and even politics and use of the race card.
I have only lived here for five years, but have seen many instances of people from all backgrounds bound to beliefs or priorities of good and bad decisions on many issues.
Many have not had the benefit of resources to study and understand what makes good decisions, and we’re in dire need of help and understanding with no one there to guide. We also were faced with choices in the political arena this year; this subject has carried through history for thousands of years. How many of us really have compared every issue to God’s word found only in one place: the Bible? How many of us will act in a manner consistent with God’s word? What will we do when the time comes to stand before God? Will we be saved no matter what Earthly decisions we make?
There is good news! Just like Bartimaeus, your faith and following God’s written word can heal your blindness when you truly ask.
If you are troubled by “vision issues” and need someone to talk with you and help you listen to your heart, a Stephen minister is available to talk confidentially with you.
The ministry is a free, gender-sensitive, one-on-one walk with faith-based values.
Call 912-320-7840 for an appointment.
Scherer is a crisis intervention minister and the leader of the local Stephen Ministry.