January 11, 1994
A remarkable musician named Clarence can play any piece of music on his accordion after hearing it only once. Clarence had his first music lessons as an adult. It took him three months to learn one number but after that, each one comes instantly.
Clarence is blind. He demonstrates how a person who has lost a particular ability sometimes compensates in other ways. While he cannot see, his hearing is remarkable, as is his memory of what he has heard.
The Bible talks about another kind of blindness, quite different than the inability to see with our eyes. It is a blindness to spiritual realities, invisible even to those with 20/20 vision. Furthermore, they cannot be felt, heard, or tasted either.
This type of blindness is the human inability to understand spiritual matters. Because it is so much a part of our natural state, many people do not realize they are blind in this way. Even those who do may not recognize that the ability to compensate is not a given. There is nothing that can be done with any of our faculties that will counterbalance this handicap.
This condition is caused by sin. Sin is turning from God and going our own way. By taking that turn, we become blind to the realities in His kingdom. However, even though all of us have sinned, not everyone is equally blind. That is, people have varying capacities to grasp the realities of the kingdom of God, depending upon their responses to God’s leading and revelation in their lives.
Others are quite unaware of those realities and quite aware they are spiritually blind. They may realize there is mystery concerning God, and that we should try to please Him but they cannot understand how, so like Clarence, they try to compensate. They do it by conjecture, deciding what He wants then setting about doing what they decided.
Some compensate for their blindness by adopting Christianity on a superficial level. That is, they say they believe in God, that Christ is the Son of God, and that a person should have good morals, go to church, be kind, and take care of the poor, all good things. The wrong in them is that these people tend to count on those things to earn them favor with God. It is in that area that they are blind.
They do not realized that God is holy and utterly perfect and anything we could offer Him is less than His glory deserves. While some behave more morally than others, without Christ we are without the capacity to be holy or to please Him. The Bible puts it this way: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Imagine a target on the other side of a great chasm. We use our finest arrows, pull back with all our might, aim carefully, but the arrows fall short, into the chasm. Our best efforts cannot bridge the gap, caused by sin, between ourselves and God. It is too wide and too deep. Everything we try to do falls short.
Spiritual blindness often makes people think their arrows are making it to the other side. They are blind to what God thinks about their efforts and to what He really wants.
Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind. He did that literally, but also offers spiritual sight. It is called “faith.” Through faith, we can see what God wants.
At first, that does not sound like good news. Just as a bowman would be upset if he saw all his best arrows falling into a bottomless pit, so would a sincere, moral person if they saw all their efforts ignored by God. However, that is only part of “seeing.” The other part is that Jesus gives Himself, and with Him, we have the glory we need to please God. He is our bridge across the chasm. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man can come to the Father but by me.”