This is a continuation of Part 1. Please refer to Part 1 if you missed it.
“The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3). Pride, arrogance, and conceit deceives us and blinds us.
Recognizing blind spots in our lives is a big key to overcoming strongholds, poor habits, and damaging flaws in our make-up and personality.
Here are some pointers: Ask others you respect how they see you. Get an objective view of their perspective. Ask them to be honest, both on the positive side and the negative side. It takes a vulnerability to place yourself in a position to be evaluated. But think of the rewards of finding out something about yourself that could take years of slow or delayed success and un-productivity off your life.
Of course, anything anyone says to you should be sifted through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The key is to be open and teachable. By the way, if you’re happily married, your spouse should be the greatest evaluator and voice in your life. Carolyn has saved me more than once from some pitfalls and mistakes. For example, in my younger days I had tendencies toward impetuousness, and still can, if I don’t walk in the Spirit. That was another semi-blind spot in my life that took a number of events and bad experiences over the years to wake me up to it.
If you’re in some sort of leadership position, ask yourself the question: “How can I nurture deeper, more meaningful relationship-building, and a stronger sense of accountability among those whom I am leading?” Look at the structure and format of your life and ministry. How can you implement these vital aspects of discipleship and mentoring? Small groups, life groups, house churches, more fellowship, more team ministry, market-place ministry?
Too many of our traditional churches have lost this aspect of discipleship, and in some way, are becoming irrelevant to people’s lives. Too many leaders have become untouchable. Too many of them do not really have strong accountability and checks and balances in place to help them avoid blind spots. This is especially true for the heads of ministries.
I think about these blind spots in the light of the exposure of the sins of some highly influential church leaders over the years. I was grieved and angry at the same time because of the damage and reproach these kinds of findings bring to the cause of the gospel. At any rate, it gave me reason to reflect again on how leaders can go for years and not even fully realize the seriousness of their problems and/or blind spots. After all, the consequences of sin don’t always show up overnight. The sooner you can detect a weakness, a blind spot, a serious character flaw, a potential vulnerability in you, the sooner you can right the ship and correct your course for future success in God.
Of course I am not preaching absolute perfection here. Thank God that Jesus’ blood cleanses us and His grace empowers us! But at the same time we lose out in our walk with God because we often refuse instruction and correction. Not necessarily because we don’t want it, but because we are blind to it and do not see the seriousness of it, or have no one in our lives we feel we can trust with such confidences. I guarantee you that the Lord has had His finger on some areas of your life that you’ve resisted. It’s easy to justify it, override your own conscience, and be at least partially blinded to the seriousness of it.
I know of a ministerial couple right now who have an okay marriage but are being cheated out of God’s highest and best for them because the woman wears the pants. If you asked them how their marriage was, they would probably tell you that it’s fine. But my fear is that years of the woman wearing the pants will eventually wear the man down and will suppress God’s maximum potential in him, or worse, cause him to look somewhere else for a woman that will honor and adore him, instead of always nagging him and putting him down like his present wife does. This behavior and environment will also affect their children and even those who submit to their leadership. Blind spots…they have far-reaching effects.
But it is difficult to get real close to people and be totally transparent with them, isn’t it? ; Or to allow them to get too close to you, especially as a leader. The potential for people to think less of you or judge you is great. The risk of losing whatever favor or reputation you have often supersedes the desire for transparency, holiness, and accountability.
That is why it is so important to have personal confidants, trusted brothers or sisters, and fathers/mothers in the faith who have passed through much of what you are passing through now. They have grace, wisdom, and experience that you need to avoid blind spots and pitfalls. My observation, however, has been that there are not too many of those either; that is, fathers who are transparent enough to admit their own faults and see past yours without judging you.
We humans are so fragile, and full of so many doubts, fears, and hurts that stop us from being vulnerable and transparent with each other. Now certainly a deep level of trust must first be established with someone before you can open up your heart to them. We definitely need to use wisdom and caution in who we unveil the privacy of our lives and hearts to. But at the same time, personal discipleship and mentoring through God-ordained relationships is the example that scripture gives us. And we must nurture these relationships over time.
Blind spots…that’s my word to you today! I hope it is a blessing to you.