FIRST-PERSON: Check your blind spot
GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP) -- We know how important it is to check the blind spot when driving. It is one of the most important lessons we learn in driver's education class. Failing to check the blind spot could easily result in an accident.
After years of insistence and persistence from my wife, I finally purchased blind spot mirrors for our cars. Now, I don't know how I got along without them all these years. And I don't know why I waited so long. They have literally saved my life more than once.
There are, however, other kinds of blind spots in life that are equally important. The truth is that most of us have huge blind spots when it comes to understanding ourselves and seeing ourselves as others see us. It is easy to recognize the faults and shortcomings of others and fail to see our own.
Jesus taught this truth to His disciples, "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3).
Our inability to recognize our weaknesses and vulnerabilities is dangerous to our spiritual and emotional health. After the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus predicted His arrest and subsequent death.
Then He said to His disciples, "You will all fall away because of me this night." Simon Peter answered and said, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away."
To this, Jesus responded, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times." Peter then exclaimed, "Even if I must die with You, I will not deny you," (Matthew 26:31-35).
We all know what happened shortly afterward. In the face of accusations from a little girl, Peter denied the Lord three times.
It is obvious: Peter had a huge blind spot. He was not self-aware. It cost him his testimony and broke his heart. It took the convicting work of God's Spirit to bring him to a point where he could see both his strengths and his weaknesses and to the realization that he must depend totally on God.
Many years later, a more humble and self-aware Simon Peter would write these words: "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen," (1 Peter 4:11).
God's Word serves as a spiritual blind spot mirror. The apostle Paul wrote, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:3).
God's Word, just like the mirrors on our cars, is effective only if we put it to use. God's Word is not a magical book of formulas and incantations to be recited when we are in trouble or need advice.
In a real sense it serves as a mirror, reflecting back to us the reality of our sins and human limitations, of God's mercy and grace and God's desire to transform us into the likeness of His Son. In order for God's Word to be effective, we must apply and obey the Word, not just hear it.
"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
"But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does," (James 1:22-25).
Have you checked your blind spot today?
Larry Doyle is director of missions of the Piedmont Baptist Association in North Carolina. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).