You have to say it like Lucy Wilde says “Lipstick Taser!” in Despicable Me 2 …all falsetto…with genuine glee packed into it: “Backup Camera!” Wait…you haven’t seen Despicable Me 2? That’s just, well, despicable. Ask your kids…they’ll tell you.
I mentioned in a previous blog that I recently leased a car. This car has a Backup Camera. It’s very exciting to be able to see areas that were previously blind spots when backing up. There, in a dash-mounted panoramic display: everything that is behind the car, below the back end of the car, and to the immediate left and right rear…previously hidden spots in my “backup life” are now revealed. They are revealed in a way that helps me avoid danger and revealed in a way that helps make new choices and head in new directions (or just slam on the brakes if need be). Backup Camera!
Backing up the car is not the only place I have blind spots. I have blind spots in my relational and spiritual spheres as well. There are things about me and the way I interact with others that I cannot see or, that I (ummm…) choose not to see: blind spots.
You want to know what they are, don’t you? Alright…here are a few…I’m not warm and fuzzy so sometimes I don’t see those moments when a simply dispensed hug will do. I hate legalism (the imposition of human rules about what constitutes anything Christian) so sometimes I miss the hurt in the legalists’ eyes–the hurt that fuels the rampage. I have blind spots associated with my wife and my kids and my grandkids so I sometimes don’t see their humanity in the midst of my perception of their wonderfulness (because they are, indeed, wonderful…I have pictures).
And…well, I think that’s enough. I have blind spots. But we all have blind spots, don’t we. The first blind spot might even be a blind spot about our blind spots. Psychologists would call this a “deficiency in self-awareness.” The Bible would call it “thinking more highly (read blindly) of ourselves than we ought” when instead we need “sober judgment” (Romans 12:3).
Jesus had a famous encounter with someone and his blind spot. You remember the story. The rich man (the “ruler”) who ran to Jesus (Mark 10) desperate to know what he needed to do to “inherit eternal life.” Jesus cites representative commandments to impress the breadth of commitment required for the Kingdom. And, perhaps with a tentative hope, the man thinks that maybe, just maybe, he’s in; you can hear the breathlessness, “All these I have kept…”
But the rich ruler had a blind spot–it was his wealth. He had (apparently) impressive religious credentials. So impressive were his external, religious performance credentials that Jesus didn’t even challenge them. Jesus sees the man’s compelling sincerity and (here’s an “aha” moment), because Jesus loves this earnest man, He shines a revelatory light on the ruler’s blind spot: his stash of cash. The ruler was a man of great wealth.
So here’s a thing: Jesus is not trying to trample the man’s self-esteem or be “judgmental” in the silly “don’t tell the emperor he has no clothes on” kind of way that our culture uses that word. Jesus points the man to his blind spot because Jesus cares most deeply for this man and it is Jesus’ very care that moves Him to help this man see his need for more than some coins in a bag.
At the moment of the blind spot revelation, the man now had a choice–act on the newly seen truth about his blind spot or turn away. Sadly for him and for Jesus (and perplexing for the disciples who observed), the man turns away. Though he was now aware of his blind spot, the man was stuck in a place that prevented him from fully embracing the way of the One who is The Way. The ruler’s blind spot disabled his ability to see that Jesus had so much more to give.
We all have blind spots; we all have things about ourselves that we will miss unless someone who loves us points to them and says, ever so gently, that we’re missing something. We all need the Backup Camera to help us avoid those danger zones we’d otherwise just plain miss. We’re all in need of faithful and believing friends to help us see those blind spots.
Don’t get me wrong…this is not the random, “Let me tell you how badly you stink,” that passes for “accountability” in some circles. This is the genuine caring of those most invested in us and our Christian life that carefully points out the blind spot and takes our hand to help us find the way out.
Say it with me, just like Lucy Wilde, “Backup Camera!”
Get one installed today.
© All rights reserved. Scripture from the NIV, Zondervan.