A Blind Surgeon
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As many of you know, in June 2014 over three days, for reasons unknown, I completely lost my vision. This sudden blindness landed me in the hospital for a week. A few weeks after my release from the hospital, with the prognosis that I might never see again, I convinced my wife to allow me to go hiking blind and alone on a familiar trail. I needed to learn how to survive with this new adversity, I told her. Reluctantly, she consented and dropped me off at the trail head with a plan to pick me up in 2 hours. I quickly discovered that hiking blind and alone was a bad idea. Please read more.
Perhaps my zealous overconfidence with my new limitation was a result of watching too many documentaries about people who had overcome the most difficult of circumstances. I had heard talks from people who had lost limbs, yet they learned to swim or snow ski, so I convinced myself that I needed to try one of these seemingly impossible tasks. I chose to hike blind.
Let me tell you, it was not my brightest idea. This area of the Carolinas is known for black bears, coyotes, and poisonous copperhead snakes, all of which I had previously encountered on this trail. Undaunted, off I went. I used my walking stick to guide me and keep me on the well-worn path. To make a long story short, I fell several times and I ran into a few trees as I hiked my way on this mountainous path. Before long, my overconfidence wore off, reality and anxiety set in, I turned around and I prayed that I would find my way out. Fortunately, I made it back unharmed.
By this time, you are probably thinking, “Brian that was a dumb idea.” You are right, it was! In Jesus’ words, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” In Luke 6:39-42, Jesus also points out that being a blind surgeon is a bad idea. If anyone of us needed surgery, choosing a totally blind surgeon to perform that surgery would be an even worse decision than hiking blind.
With this said, why do we all try to perform eye surgery on others almost every day while we ourselves are either partially or totally blind? Jesus also said, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”
I want to reflect on this passage as we, here in the United States, draw close to the November election. Politicians for local, state, and national offices have already begun slinging mud. They are all quick to point out the splinters in their adversary’s eye. Perhaps being a blind eye surgeon goes with the very nature of politics, but it should have no place in the lives of Christians.
Jesus has called us to a higher standard. We as Christians need to be careful not to fall in the trap of the politicians. Before we go about posting on every social media platform all of the faults and failings of the politicians we don’t like, let’s pause and reflect on our own shortcomings and let’s also face the reality that the politicians we do like, have their own shortcomings.
Everyone running for a political office is a child of God, made in His image. Just like each of us, they all have their flaws, faults, and sinfulness. None of us want our dirty laundry aired out in public and none of us want our skeletons in the closet brought to everyone’s attention. Yet, because it is a political season, we fall right into the quagmire of the politicians.
This year, perhaps we Christians could rise above the vitriol and try to see what is good not only in the politicians, but in everyone we encounter every day. This even includes those in the opposite political party. Jesus is calling us to a higher ground.
Hiking blind and alone was a bad idea. Becoming a blind surgeon is a bad idea. Trying to pull a splinter out of someone’s eye with a plank in our own eye is a bad idea. And finally, always finding fault in others, without first dealing with our own faults is not only a bad idea, it also flies in the face of the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father give me the grace to see the good in everyone like you do. Help me to be willing to forgive the faults of others as you forgive mine. Help me to rid myself of the plank in my eye before performing that surgery on others. Amen
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
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Brian I am not hiking with you anymore.
You may still be blind and faking that you can see and leading me on.
Then again I may think I am seeing and am blind…life an illusion.
Well, let’s skip the hiking and just show up at lunch at the place we like…Heaven? And pretend we were hiking to get there.
I am always ready for lunch, hike or no hike. God bless!
Thank you for this well timed reminder. Politics is very ugly and it is easy to look at politicians and forget they are human beings that are loved by God. I am looking forward to learning more about your work.
Well said and well put. If only people would understand this. I am so tired of posts on facebook with all the negativity. These people need our prayers and the Devine Mercy. Thank you for all you do for us.
Thanks for posting. You are right about Facebook. Sometimes it seems that as Christians we set our Christianity aside when we log on to post on Facebook, especially if the post is about politics. We need to pray before we post and seek God’s guidance to respond with Christ-like words.
AMEN! We all should be patient, understanding, forgiving and tolerant. Not that I am. Dang plank in my eye. I better go pray for all those I don’t understand and for myself.
Thanks for your post. I think your comment could apply for almost all of us, and yes, we all need to pray that prayer.
Wow! Talk about a powerful message today, Brian. Your splinter and plank analogy? I needed this reminder.
I am glad you found the message beneficial. Praise God!
Very well said, Brian. Though hiking alone may not have bee the wisest decision, I admire your courage and determination. Keep up the good work, Jim
I was blessed by your humility and how much you want to honor the Lord with your life. Thank you for sharing your story with us and for the reminder to seek to look at others as the Lord sees them.
Keep persevering in the Lord.
Thank you for you kind words. May our Lord richly bless you, now and always.
Brian: I always enjoy your letters. This is one of your best one’s and very timely. Thanks for all you do for all of us that regularly follow you. May God continue to Bless you and Mary Beth. Regards! Jim
Thanks Jim. The credit goes to the Holy Spirit who inspires me to write.
I hope you are doing well!