Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 11, 2014

real blindness

You’ve likely never heard the name Charlotte Brown.  Charlotte is a sixteen year-old young lady that can teach all of us a few lessons.  She’s a track star for her high school in Texas, and last week she tied for fourth place in the state at her specialty … pole vaulting.  I have always been amazed at how someone can launch their body into the air using only a pole, and then complete a torso turn at just the right moment to elevate above a prescribed height. Miss Brown cleared eleven feet!  A great feat in and of itself for a high school junior, but when you consider that Charlotte is blind, it makes her accomplishment even more astounding! This young lady used her guide dog to navigate the track, plus an electronic beeper to help her jump at just the right time.  Think about her fearlessness, her determination, the lack of self-pity and the awesome dedication that propelled Charlotte to do something that most of us could never achieve.

On the very same day that I read about Charlotte Brown, I was struck by a sentence from John Ortberg’s book, God Is Closer Than You Think.  His words are an indictment of all of us who become self-consumed, and therefore miss so much that God intends for us to see as we walk our own journey. His statement reads, “To refuse the blindness that comes with self-preoccupation.” Physical blindness is difficult, and most often unavoidable.   Blindness resulting from a preoccupation with self is absolutely avoidable, and if left unchecked becomes an insidious disease.  Our lives should be lived with eyes wide open, seeing God’s purpose for us, and living with a preoccupation on others and their needs.  To be candid, we have all felt our eyes closing to those around us; we have been consumed only by our opinions, problems and needs.

During my personal reading last week, I was confronted with the compassion of Jesus. I read of how He healed a man with leprosy and another who was a paralytic. I also sensed in my reading, the battle that He faced with the religious leaders.  They seemed to fight Him at every turn because Christ didn’t obey their religious traditions. How blind they were to miss the work of God.  But in the church communities where we reside, our spiritual biases, agendas and relationships cause us to miss the work of God around us.  It almost seems absurd, but my point can be illustrated by a normal occurrence in churches across America.  Someone who doesn’t fit our mold enters the building, and can be easily avoided. My favorite is when a new person (possibly seeking after Christ) sits in the seat that is typically occupied by a regular attendee and is asked to move!

I could write pages on the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees and even church communities today. But a greater question for me (and for you) is this … in what ways are we being blinded by self-preoccupation? If you are anything like me, there are aspects of your life that can easily draw you to self-preoccupation. Today you could be facing a financial crisis, a new life direction, an addiction, or any other spiritual battle that will blind you to God’s purpose and the needs of others.  If you are reading these words and have any self-preoccupation dominating your life, will you confess and release it to the Father right now?  It’s absolutely a disease, but here’s the hope … He’s the cure!  Listen to the words of Jesus from our reading just last week … It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17 NIV)

You and I will be tempted with self-preoccupation today, and for the rest of our lives. Battling this insidious blindness will benefit those we love, and honor God.  Charlotte Brown has a lot to teach us about real blindness. She seems to see that preoccupation with self can be worse than physical blindness, and she will have none of it. What about you?



  1. Amen. How often I find myself focusing on my own health issues and loose site of others who really have serious issues. When we get tied up with ourselves we miss out on what life is really about.

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