Being Blind to Blindness

Shobana Vetrivel   |   February 26, 2015 


I live with an eye condition that recurs on and off every couple of years. I have no way of knowing when it may start to act up and I pretty much just manage the situation as and when it comes. I was 13 years old when it first occurred and it was an extremely severe attack. The vision in my left eye was impaired so significantly, that when I see just with my left eye, I am almost blind.

But because my right eye is completely fine, it does not affect me at all. I can read all the books I want to read, work on the computer as long as I need to, watch all the new movies that are released  and enjoy the wild sights of the city I love. Each time I try and explain my situation to people, I encounter a bewildered look and shock that it is even possible to carry on with life so easily.

Unfortunately, so many times this could be true of the life of the church. We can carry on with our minutely planned and well executed programmes, the fantastic worship services with an amazingly tight band, the best illustrations that make the sermon incredibly relevant to our audience, the leadership principles that can energise any team or committee, the fun hangout events that can appeal to the most rebellious teenager and the critical strategy meetings that can inch us closer and closer to fulfilling our vision - blind to the fact that it is possible to have all this without Jesus.

Paul Tripp puts this well, A spiritually blind person not only fails to recognise his blindness, he is convinced that he has excellent vision. A fundamental part of being spiritually blind is that you are blind to your blindness.”

This is sometimes true even in my own spiritual life – I can tick off my daily quiet times, attend home group every week, prepare Bible studies diligently, carry out a number of ministry responsibilities, read some great devotional books and feel like a spiritual giant. Now don’t get me wrong, all of this is of great value but without Jesus in the picture, it is useless.

There are some gracious moments when this blindness becomes staggeringly visible. It happens to me physically when I apply kajal on my eyes. I cannot apply kajal properly on my right eyelid because I cannot close it completely and see with my left eye if it’s being applied properly. So I get by with a shaky hand and even shakier right eyelid, half open to ensure that the kajal line is at least presentable.

It happens to me spiritually when I find myself doing all the right spiritual activities, yet suddenly snapping at my family, drying up on compassion, lacking patience with people and considering myself better than others. It happens to us corporately when something or someone we bank on fails to deliver and we realise that we are not in control and we don’t know it all.

What is absolutely refreshing is that the solution to spiritual blindness is to respond to a call to intimacy and not a long to-do list. Jesus says,

“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

The picture painted is that of an intimate meal. Having a meal with someone is the least threatening yet tremendously intimate thing to do. All we need to do is to open the door and allow the One who opens blind eyes to correct our vision – of who we are and of who He is. To humbly admit that we don’t know it all, we can’t do it all, we are weak, we are weary, and nothing apart from Him. That He does know it all, can do it all, He is our strength, He is our restorer and He is our all.

“Your real, new self will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him . . . Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in” (C. S. Lewis).


Photo Credit: Elton Harding via Flickr cc

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Shobana Vetrivel

Shobana Vetrivel enjoys the hustle and bustle of city life and the adventure of living in New Delhi. She has an educational background in social development and theology and has worked in both development and ministry settings. She currently works with Delhi School of Theology and is pursuing a PhD in Practical Theology. Books, travelling, theology, coffee and deep conversations are a few of her favourite things.  

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14 comments on “Being Blind to Blindness”

    1. shobhana, you have written this article with so much simplicity and honesty........ you are a blessing.... much love.....seema

  1. Shobana, what a touching and gripping post. It makes me want to know you and have tea together, but most of all it makes me want to spend more time with Jesus. Thanks for sharing.

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