In chapter 9 of John’s gospel, Jesus healed a man who had been blind since birth. Jesus put mud in his eyes and told him to go wash. There is more detail but I want to get to the part where he was healed. He could see!
Some said that this was the man who hand been blind since birth and others said it only looked like him. Here’s the question of the day. How could they not know?
How could they not know?
They probably never really saw him. They knew he was there and quickly proceeded past him surely in some discussion of world-saving importance. They didn’t want to look his way.
They didn’t want to look a blind man in the eye for if they did, they might just be compelled to compassion and mercy. They might have seen another person—someone made in the image of God—and they would have been compelled to mercy.
That might have cost them money or time. It would have taken them off their path of urgent demands and out of their comfort zones. It might have given them eyes to see and left them without excuse for not showing mercy.
How was it that the people that had walked by the blind man hundreds or thousands of times on their way back and forth on that road over the past decade couldn’t tell if it was the same man who could now see? They never really saw him.
Just as the priest and Levite walked on the other side of the road in the parable of the Good Samaritan, most of the people who had walked by this man daily wished the road was wider and that they could walk on the other side as well.
Fortunately, this doesn’t happen today. Actually, it happens much, much more but we have become more subtle about it. We find ways not to see the blind man on the side of the road.
Programs and movements lump people into groups and categories and divide them according to the whims of the program instead prompting the power of compassion to jump into action. Programs have metrics. People need relationship. Programs let us keep our distance. Mercy makes connections.
See a man not a movement.
Look the blind man in the eye and be led by the Spirit.
Do not surrender the Spirit that God placed inside of you to something that voids the relationships he intended for you.
Build God’s kingdom in this age one relationship at a time. Be known by your love not your membership.