“I never thought about it until now, but I guess blindness can really be a blessing in disguise.” I was surprised myself when the words came out of my mouth and since have wondered if I was really, truly being honest with myself. Do I embrace blindness as a blessing in disguise if it leads me to avoid wrong thoughts and attitudes?
A couple of weeks ago I was in a small group Bible study when we began to talk about the pitfalls and internal battle of passing judgment on someone else. Each of us easily admitted we have had times where we’ve been quick to jump to conclusions based on a person’s appearance.
I’m guessing you know the sting of being judged and how condemning people can be. But, have you ever felt the guilt of self-righteous haughtiness? Had a time when you passed judgment on someone only to realize your summation was totally wrong?
We do it all the time, don’t we? We see something and we make a snap judgment. We call it as we see it and feel quite smug. That is until we know the rest of the story.
As this small group continued the discussion we began to share specific examples of how wrong judging is but also of how we often judge situations so wrongly.
We began to share from our hearts examples of how we’d been quick to judge only to learn our judgments were not at all correct. Real life stories emerged.
One of my friends said, “I was at the elementary school when I met a mom who was dressed in fine clothes accessorized with expensive diamonds and carrying a designer handbag. I immediately decided she was a snob, that she must weekend at the spa. Later when I learned the truth, I was ashamed of myself. It turns out this mom spent her free time selflessly caring for her Alzheimer stricken father—even flossing his teeth and changing his diapers when necessary.”
Another woman said, “I know what you mean. I was in the checkout line at the grocery store when I saw a healthy-looking young guy paying for his groceries with a food stamp card. I immediately assessed him as too lazy to work and felt myself getting angry at him. That’s when I overheard the customer service associate ask him about his grandfather and commend him for shopping for the elderly shut-in who was no longer able to make it to the store.”
Then a third woman chimed in with her own story, “I was shocked when I saw a young girl, about twenty or so, wearing a sheer white blouse over a colorful lacy bra. I was certain she knew exactly what she was doing and that she was just trying to get the attention of the men around her, that she was trying to be provocative or worse. When I took time to understand her, I soon realized she was quite naïve and a little clueless. She said she ‘just thought she was “wearing a cute outfit’. She had no idea the image carried such power.”
As the sharing continued, I remembered times in my own life when I saw someone and passed judgment on what I saw. As we wrapped up the discussion, God stirred my thoughts and I began to realize I’d not judged anyone on appearance in a long while. Not seeing the outer appearance of others had forced me to look beyond the visual appearance and packaging of people, had opened my eyes to things beyond the surface and superficial.
I shared with the group about the freedom of being out shopping recently with a friend. When she remarked critically about a woman, “Wow, did you see what she was wearing?” I told her I hadn’t at all seen what the woman was wearing.
How freeing! When I could see, I would have added my opinion and disgust but instead was spared the guilt of judging.
As I recalled the story, God stirred in my spirit and I went on to speak the words that surprised even me.
“You know, “I never thought about it until now, but I guess blindness can really be a blessing in disguise. Blindness has freed me from judging others based on their outer appearance and forced me to see what’s beneath the surface.”
There is freedom in seeing beyond the superficial, relief in being blinded to the outer casing of a precious soul, and blind acceptance where there was once blanket criticism. I’m reminded today of being warned when I was a child about the dangers and the wrongness of judging others. I was told by loving adults, “Always remember when you point a finger at someone else, you have four fingers pointing right back at you.”
Will you ask God today to figuratively “blind” you to superficial things and let you see others as He sees them? After all, who are we mere humans to judge others? There is One Judge who is perfect and we are not Him.