What is there about someone falling in front of us that makes us laugh? Oh, we might check to see if they’re injured, but if they’re not hurt, we chuckle or explode into giggles.
Comedians like Dick Van Dyke made pratfall humor famous! (But most of us don’t get paid to humiliate ourselves for a laugh.)
One of my most embarrassing moments was at the Michigan sand dunes. When the wind picked up, blowing sand into my eyes, I couldn’t see for a few moments.
Instead of being sensible and standing in place until my vision cleared, I walked forward – mummy-like – toward my friends. Or at least, I thought they were my friends.
I ended up falling over a cement bench, bending forward into something of a somersault. I landed on my rear end. A perfect pratfall.
Friends and others nearby rushed to my side, concerned. But then they started laughing.
“That was great!” one said. (Ha, ha, ha.)
“You did that with such grace,” another added. “We should sign you up for the circus.” (Ha, ha, ha.)
Humiliated, I asked for water to help clear my eyes of remaining sand. My hair and clothes were filled with sand too.
“Maybe we should nickname you ‘Sandy,'” a friend suggested.
I only suffered a few bruises, but the joke lived on for years.
Have you ever noticed that our spiritual eyes can fill up with things that don’t belong there? Believe me, when that happens we can “fall” into embarrassing, even hurtful situations.
I’ve been thinking about spiritual blindness. The Bible speaks of those who do not know the Lord as being “blind” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The famous hymn, “Amazing Grace,” says: “I once was was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” God wants to open unbelievers’ eyes (Acts 26:18).
But it’s not just unbelievers who have a blind-eye issue.
Though their eyes have been opened, God’s children can sometimes live as though they’re blind.
2 Peter 1:3-7 explains some qualities (or virtues) that believers should exhibit in their lives as partakers in the divine nature; these are qualities that will make us useful for the Kingdom of God.
But verse 9 says, “… whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having FORGOTTEN that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
The “nearsightedness” Peter is talking about may mean that when we lack these virtues in our lives, we can only see earthly things. We aren’t focusing on eternal truths and values. We don’t see the spiritual realities of the unseen world. Our perspective is cloudy. We don’t see far off to our heavenly King. And when we fail to focus on Him and what He has done for us, we act like we are spiritually blind.
What cause did Peter offer for this blindness? He said we “forget” what Jesus did on the cross and in His resurrection to cleanse us from our sins.
We who have the light of Christ need to live in that light … to walk in the light (Ephesians 5:7-9). In other words, we need to remember the cross, remember the power of Jesus’ resurrection. Every single day.
I’ve thought about what kind of “sand” might blind me to the power of the Gospel in my everyday life.
This S-A-N-D includes:
S – Stubbornness and Sinful Habits that get in the way
Also, when we cherish sinful habits or addictions, we exhibit a spirit of rebellion against God. Why should He show us more light, more truth, if we refuse to obey Him? Luke 6:46 challenges us – Why do we call Him “Lord” when we are unwilling to do what He says?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown’s Bible Commentary says (of 1 Peter 1:9), there may even be “a degree of wilfulness in the blindness” (implied in the Greek) with “closing the eyes.” Sometimes even Christians can rebel against the light shining around them.
A – Attitudes and Affections that don’t please the Lord
1 Peter 1:3-7 lists some of the attitudes we should have as believers. But too many of us display exactly the opposite attitudes: impatience, ungodliness, selfishness, etc. How interesting that Peter says, “… if you practice these things [the positive virtues/attitudes], you will never fall.” (To push my analogy a bit … unlike the sand in the eyes that causes us to stumble, clear vision of what Jesus has done for us encourages a steady walk with God.)
Also, what do we love? Do we love anyone or anything more than God? We must love Him with our entire being (Matthew 22:37-38). He is a “jealous” God – deeply desiring our love and worship (Exodus 34:14), which is entirely His due.
N – Negativity and “Neediness” that hinder progress
If we are an “I’m ag’in it” sort of Christian, always focusing on the negative, it’s hard to move forward into opportunities for ministry. Perhaps our negativity comes from focusing on the splinter in others’ eyes while excusing the log in our own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5).
We all have needs, and the Lord is more than sufficient to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 12:9), but when we are “needy” in the sense that it’s all about us (only focusing on our needs), our selfishness stunts our usefulness. God wants us to love, encourage and serve others and we are, ultimately, to do it all for Him (Matthew 25:40).
D – Double-mindedness and Deceit that keep us in the dark
And lying to ourselves is as serious as lying to others (Ephesians 4:25), because it influences our walk with Christ. We must fill our minds and counsel our hearts with God’s truth (an example: Psalm 42:5). We are to walk in truth (Psalm 86:11; 3 John 1:4).
I’m sure there are many other ways Christians can act as though they are blind.
Can you think of any “sand” that gets in our eyes, impeding our walk in love, truth and wisdom?