I think it’s possible that my high school single handedly kept white shoe polish on store shelves in Waco, Texas in the early 90’s. How often the windows of our cars were covered in messages and crudely drawn pics was directly correlated to our level of popularity. One Friday afternoon I got in on the fun by decorating the trucks of the boy I was “dating” (the quotes denote loosely used terminology) and his best friend. The next day I parked my car in the high school parking lot and rode a yellow dog to a track meet. Upon returning to the school late that night, I saw what appeared to be mud all over my car. As I climbed off the bus with my friends, one of them said, “I don’t think that’s mud.”
The boy I was “dating” (yes, still with the quotes) and his best friend recruited a little brother and searched pastures until they found an adequate supply of manure to fill a kitchen trash bag. They brought it up to the school and used I’m-not-sure-what to smear it all over the outside of my car. It was disgusting, it reeked and I couldn’t even see through the windshield to drive it somewhere to wash. A few friends – really good ones, I might add – helped me scrape enough off the windshield to see to drive a few blocks to a house much closer than mine to hose off the mess. The boys’ moms, who both adored me, were horrified to learn what they had done and demanded they apologize to me. I’m not so sure that punishment fit the crime.
I hope you haven’t lost your last meal because I do have a point in reliving this prank: Spiritual blindness. God’s word gives us many reasons we are to be in community with other believers. The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, the more I think we need one another desperately to combat spiritual blindness. What is spiritual blindness? Compellingtruth.org defines it as a condition of being “unable to see God or understand His message.” Although this definitely applies to non-believers, it also applies to believers in certain situations. Paul Tripp in his book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, says it “is the condition of every sinner…Yet few will realize its impact on the way they view themselves, God, others, and their situations. They are like those described in Romans 1, who think they are wise when really they are fools. They assume they think well when the thinking of their heart is actually foolish and futile.”
Spiritual blindness can be deceptive. When blinded to the inappropriateness of our thoughts or reactions to a situation, we are also usually blinded to our blindness. Was that clear as mud? Or manure? As John wrote to the church in Laodicea, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, BLIND [emphasis mine] and naked” Revelation 3:17 We need to do life with others who are following hard after Jesus. And not “yes men”. Friends who will gently nudge us when we are heading in the wrong direction.
On that long ago evening when I looked at my car after a long and tiring day under the cover of night, I saw mud. But a friend who didn’t have as much to loose warned me of a much darker and smellier situation.
If you don’t have trusted Christ-followers in your life, I would plead with you to find ways to get involved in your local Bible-believing church and meet people. And if the friendships already exist, get real. Openly share your heart with one or two who have proven reliable. Ask them to keep you accountable to “walk in a manner worthy…” Colossians 1:10 NASB It’s risky to be vulnerable, but obedience to God demands it. And it’s worth it. A friend who can spot your poo and then stick around to help clean it up is a priceless treasure.
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