Blind Spots

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My oldest son’s first car was a used convertible. When I borrowed it once for an errand, I commented to him that the car had a huge blind spot. The corner between the small plexiglass back windshield and the door window was wider than in most cars. If I looked back over my right shoulder, I could hardly see anything. My son responded, “Yeah, but if the top is down, there’s no blind spot!”

We know that vehicles have blind spots—areas where we can’t see what’s around the car. So we use mirrors, signals, and occasionally other passengers to help make sure the way is clear when we need to change lanes.

If you’ve ever read about the blind spots of an 18-wheeler, you know not to drive your car next to the truck in a spot where you can’t be seen.

But somehow we go barreling through life without thinking that we might have personal blind spots.

Our church has just finished reading through Malachi, where God brings up several different issues with His people. But their response to each charge is basically, “What are you walking about? We’re doing fine.”

God said of the Laodicean church in Revelation, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

You’ve probably read online conversations, as I have, where someone lashes out at others over some issue, and then complains about feeling judged. But somehow these folks miss their own judging of others that they’ve just displayed. The irony would be been funny if it wasn’t so serious.

And then, just about the time I get all stirred up about other people’s blind spots, God reminds me that I have a few of my own.

What causes blind spots?

We think we know more than we do—at least, more than the other person.

We’re too busy looking at the speck in another person’s eye to see the log in our own.

We haven’t given enough thought or prayer to a subject.

We assume we know the other person’s meaning and motives.

We haven’t studied the Bible enough to know what it says on certain issues, or we study with preconceived conclusions in mind.

We don’t want to change our views on a subject, so we don’t listen to other perspectives.

How can we combat blind spots? What tools, mirrors, assistance, or signals can help us navigate and avoid collisions?

Humility. We don’t know all there is to know on any issue. We don’t know every perspective. Sometimes we’re quick to jump on and expound upon a topic because we’ve read and studied it out before. Still, even if we’re an expert in an area, we have to be careful of appearing arrogant. And there might just be a thing or two we could still learn about it.

Ask for others’ feedback. Just as a fellow passenger can see what we can’t from their viewpoint, a friend or mentor can give us a kind but honest assessment.The first time I turned in a partial manuscript for a paid critique, I was astounded and humbled at the number of mistakes the editor discovered. The experience was a painful but necessary step to improvement.

Prayer. David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This is something we should be doing regularly. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?Other versions say “desperately  wicked” or “incurable.” We’re probably deceived about ourselves more than anyone or anything else.

Listening. James 1:19 says, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” If I am getting riled up about something, that’s usually a clue that I need to step back rather than launch in. And before I share what I think, I need to really hear what the other person is saying and look at it from their point of view. I still might not agree with them, but I might understand them better.

Read and listen to God’s Word. Anatomically speaking, we all have a blind spot where nerves pass through our retina. At the spot where they pass through, there are no rods or cones, so our eyes don’t see light there. The brain usually fills in what we don’t actually see. Spiritually, though, we don’t need to have any blind spots. We need God to turn His searchlight on to show us things we need to confess to Him and seek His help to overcome. If something keeps coming up in our Bible reading, books, sermons, and conversations, God might be trying to get our attention about it. Instead of being quick to brush it off, we need to take it before the Lord.

Listen to criticism and correction. Sometimes criticism is totally unfounded. But instead of getting defensive, we need to examine criticism for any truth in it. “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise” (Proverbs 15:31).

Proceed cautiously. I was extra-careful in my son’s convertible since I knew I couldn’t see traffic in one area well. Similarly, there’s a turn on our way home that’s right on top of a hill. I can’t see oncoming traffic until I get to the top, so I am careful not to turn early. Ephesians 5:15 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.”

I usually use a Swiffer sweeper on our hardwood floors, because it gets dust and hair more efficiently. But one day I got the broom and dust pan to sweep up some crumbs.The sunlight was streaming in the windows as I swept, and I saw a cloud of dust swirling almost chest high from my efforts. Without the light shining in, I would never have known that I was stirring up more dust than I was getting rid of.

How desperately we need God’s truth to shine in on our lives and show us what we wouldn’t otherwise see. How we need His wisdom, cleansing, and guidance.

To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me (Acts 26:18).

Clara H. Scott wrote a hymn in 1895, asking God to open her eyes, ears, mind, and heart to His truth. It’s a good prayer for us today:

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

Refrain 1:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Refrain 2:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my mind, that I may read
More of Thy love in word and deed;
What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
Only for light from Thee I plead.

Refrain 3:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my mind, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.

Refrain 4:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my heart, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Hearth and Home,
Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Purposeful Faith,
InstaEncouragement, Legacy Link-Up,
Let’s Have Coffee, Heart Encouragement,
Grace and Truth, Blogger Voices Network)

 

44 thoughts on “Blind Spots

  1. I love the hymn you closed with! This is very timely; social media is such a showplace for blind spots these days. And if I stop to consider many of the things you mention here, yes, I certainly do have mine. I need to pray more for Jesus to reveal mine to me, although honestly this is one of those things where I already feel so aware of my shortcomings in this area that I am hesitant to ask for even more awareness …

  2. We definitely all have blind spots and we need to allow God and others to speak into those to show us the things we can’t see for ourselves. Not easy, but so important. I love the words of the hymn you shared.

  3. Barbara,
    Beautiful and spot on post! You hit the nail on the head with regard to humility. I have found myself praying David’s prayer more often – humbling myself to ask God to search me and reveal my blind spots. Then comes the challenge of listening to what He points out and doing something to change my ways (without getting all defensive). Perfect hymn to illustrate your post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  4. Thank you for reminding me of my own blind spots, Barbara. When I read the list of causes, I really had to examine my own sources of willful blindness. I often think I know more than I actually do. Yikes! I also think criticism is accepted more readily if it is offered lovingly, at least for me. My reaction to criticism mixed with kindness and compassion is different than when criticism is meant to hurt or intimidate. Great post! You really made me think.

    • I agree–some criticism is meant to be hurtful, or at least self-righteous. Kind and loving criticism makes a big difference. I’m convicted, too, by how often I think I know all about a situation or issue.

  5. Oh my. My blind spots can get me in trouble. Pride can be a big cause. And I am not one to openly embrace criticism, especially from another person I view with more blind spots than me. And I find that comparing myself can keep me from my blind spots. I compare myself to someone and find I am miles ahead of them in an area and therefore justify I am okay. I remembering trying to teach my child and help them see a blind spot and they were resistant to my help. And boy was that an eye opener to me. Because I saw myself as the child and being resistant to God’s help. I was helping the child with only good intentions, and God is the same way. Remembering this has helped me be more open to hearing about my blind spots.

  6. Thank you for these words of truth. I had not heard that hymn for so many years. Such a blessing, and tears, as I am listening now on Youtube. Yes, may I be more willing to let Him open my eyes and heart too.

  7. Another cause Barbara is cross cultural insensitivity, other cultures have different ways of doing things & differing perspectives to our own culture. Our cultural ways are not the only way in this global community.
    This can even be seen when we get married with our own spouse’s family’s culture which can lead to major blind spots & misunderstandings. As each family has there own culture & ways of doing things. 😉
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

  8. My little metaphor regarding blind spots happens whenever I get the mail from our car. Because of the blind spot, I wait a few seconds before pulling back to the road. That little pause give any vehicle coming up the hill time to come into my mirrored view.
    This always reminds me of the importance of a pause.

  9. Humility is so important right now when there are so many strong opinions out there. I constantly have to remind myself of all the many things I do NOT know. Blind spots are no joke.

  10. Barbara, this is such a powerful post! I’ve been asking the Lord to show me my blind spots this summer, so we are thinking on the same wavelength! May we have the humility to follow your advice here – to let the Lord shape us to his image! Thank you for your wisdom here today!

  11. Love the words of that hymn at the end, very wise words to put ourselves into the mindset of others and see other viewpoints which we might normally be blind to. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

  12. Pingback: Who Helps You See Your Blind Spots? | Link-Up | Maree Dee

  13. Great insights you’ve shared here, Barbara. Well done. I love your suggestions to guard against those blind spots. God does an excellent job of keeping me humble. I thank Him for creating in me a DNA of humility. Have a blessed weekend, sister.

  14. Thank you, Barbara for such a thoughtful article! I know I don’t like being confronted with a blind spot in my own life! I especially enjoyed your well thought out advice for combating blind spots!

  15. Those blind spots are pride sores for me – and I hate messing up – I think that’s why I have such a hard time, but I have a sweet husband and the Holy Spirit – and it makes a difference. I realize I have to turn around, back track – it’s like a 2 steps forward 3 steps back thing for me at times! But I’m understanding the rhythm of it, the saving time by taking care of it sooner! Good word Barbara!

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