Remember when your mom said she had eyes in the back of her head? It seemed true at times when you would try to get away with something there was NO WAY she could see. But, she did "see" (probably just figuring it out because you'd done it 10 times before). Spiritually, we'd love to have eyes to see everything, but we're all stuck with blind spots.
Spiritual blind spots are areas of weakness in our life that we can't see. It could be an area of sin. It could be a personality flaw that we're not aware of. It could also just be a way that we come across to people that we're unaware of. In any case we desperately need community so that other people can help us "see" these blind spots. This is a way we can love each other. . . loving each other enough to point out a blind spot.
The difficulty comes when the person who is trying to help us with the blind spot is either wrong, or simply sees the situation differently than we do. Those times call for humility and a willingness to listen on both sides. Recently Dr. John Piper reflected on situations like this:
"Sometimes you can see what others are saying, pointing out to you about yourself and sometimes you can’t. And if you can see it, then you repent and you fight the sin. But what if you can’t even after others tell you what they see you look and you don’t see it in the way they see it. What then? Well, in order to have any integrity, I think you have to go with what you see. Otherwise you would be always jerked around by everybody on the street that tells you they see something and you say: Well, I don’t think it is there. And Paul certainly did not agree with all the criticism that came against him, nor Jesus. When they said he had a demon, he didn’t have a demon. So they were wrong. His critics were wrong.
And the result is either a struggle, in other words, when you have people around you who say this is true of you and you don’t think it is true of you, then the result is there is a struggle for leadership and one or both stands down. . . .And that is just life. I mean, Paul and Barnabas couldn’t work together because they did not perceive their own flaws. Somebody was amiss and they couldn’t see it. And I have seen it over and over again. It is just one of the heartaches of relationships."
Indeed, it is one of the heartaches, the "groanings" (Romans 8:22) of being human and being in close relationships with other humans. We have to stay humble. When we have a blind spot pointed out by a trusted friend or someone who loves us, . . . we would be wise to consider it, however imperfect it is communicated, or if it's not 100% right but only partially right. Those who are brining the concern also need humility. They could be wrong. Or, what is being pointed out could just be a personality quirk or relational style that isn't easily "fixed". It could be an opportunity for "love to cover over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8) or it could be a time for confrontation (2 Samuel 12:7).
We have to prayerfully and cautiously enter these times. We don't see ourselves clearly. . .but we also don't see others clearly. There is a Holy Spirit and we aren't Him. The whole dynamic makes me long for heaven. For now, we're called to enter into these things for the good of the Kingdom and out of love for one another.
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Cor. 13:12