Have you ever been driving and gone to change lanes, only to discover that a car is in the lane beside you which you didn’t realize was there. The car was in your blind spot—that place that you have difficulty seeing without the aid of mirrors. Those side-view and rear- view mirrors are there to help us see those spots.
Last summer, we had a rental car which had those great little warning signs on the side view mirrors that lit up to let you know if there is a car in your blind spot. They were fantastic! We need those aids to see blind spots while in the car. In fact, they are called BLIND spots for a reason! We just can’t see them—we are BLIND to them.
Actually, we all have blind spots in our field of vision. Each of our eyes has a place where the optical nerve meets the retina where we have no vision. We just can’t see. But, because we have two eyes, they compensate and our brain “fills in” that spot. We need both of our eyes to be able to do this. Each eye gives of a view of what the other eye is “missing.” One eye does not have the complete picture what is in front of us. But even with two eyes, we can’t see everything around us. We don’t see things in the ultra violet range of color. There are just things we can’t see without some assistance.
Our spiritual lives are like that as well. There are things about ourselves that are difficult,
if not impossible to see and know about ourselves. How often have we known someone
who is upset about a behavior they see in someone else and yet, we can plainly see that very same behavior in the complaining person?! The complaining person seems unable to see this behavior in themselves! We might use the word “hypocrite” for them. They do the thing about which they complain!
Jesus calls the Pharisees to account by calling them hypocrites in the sixth chapter of Matthew. The Religious Leaders acted holy on the outside, but were hollow on the inside. They were hypocrites who could not see their own blind spots!
As I have been thinking about what to give up this year for Lent, I have wondered about working on my blind spots—on trying to see those flaws that everyone else sees, but I have been blind to recognizing in myself. I know I have them; we all do. I will never forget the first time that someone called my attention to the whining tone of my voice. I didn’t realize that I was doing that.
We can’t change things that we can’t see. We need “aids” to see these things. But, just like we need two eyes to complete our field of vision, we need aids to help us see our spiritual blind spots. Just like we need mirrors to help us see blind spots when we drive, we need tools that enable us to reflect on our spiritual lives.
Lent is a time for us to take up mirrors and hold them in front of ourselves—in front of our souls. During this season, we take time to look deeper into our spiritual lives and at our relationship with God. The mirrors we hold up are the spiritual disciplines that we take up during this holy season. The Spiritual Disciplines help us to examine ourselves and perhaps just catch a glimpse, however fleeting, of the blind spots in our lives that need addressed…
What mirrors will you hold up this Lent to see those blind spots? Here are just a few suggestions of disciplines you might consider.
- Pray: spend more time in prayer
- Skip a meal each week and donate the cost to a worthy cause
- Fast from the radio and pray while driving
- Fast from social media and spend that time calling friends with whom you haven’t spoken in a while
- spend 10 minutes more a day reading the Bible
- find an inspirational writer and read one of their books
- more of your time
- more of your money
- Worship: don’t miss a Sunday at church
- Journal: spend 10 minutes a day reflecting on your faith by writing about it.
Here’s the warning though: none of those things will be as meaningful if you are not reflective. If we do not spend time THINKING about our spiritual life--about who we are –
and how we act in the world--it won’t make much of a difference. THAT is what the season of Lent is about—a time of REFLECTION
In a mirror, we see our reflection and during Lent, we spend time really looking at our
SPIRITUAL reflection. Who are we as a spiritual being? Who are we as a child of God? How do we reflect God’s love? Where are the places that we are neglecting to fully reflect God’s love? Where are our blind spots?
Joel tells us to rend our hearts and not our clothing and to return to the Lord with all of our heart. How will you return to God? What will you do to turn your life toward God, and allow God to hold that mirror before you so that you can see those blind spots?
Holy God, as we enter into this Holy season, we ask that you would help us to see those places in our lives where we are not reflective of your love—show us the spots where we are not gracious and loving and merciful. As we begin this Lent, come and show us how to be more faithful. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 and Joel 2:1-2, 12-17