2 020 VISION. We’re looking at that word play this year. Perfect eyesight 20/20 in the year 2020.
Last week was spiritual blindness. Today is farsightedness. Someone who is “farsighted” is able to clearly focus on things that are far but has difficulty seeing objects that are near. It’s not physical eyesight we’re addressing, but rather, our spiritual vision.
Two things about being farsighted:
■ BEING FARSIGHTED is a good thing. You are able to see for a great distance. Moses was farsighted. He could see beyond the slavery and desert wanderings to the promised land. The prophets of the Old Testament were farsighted. They had the God-directed ability to announce what will happen or be needed in the future. John the Elder in Revelation could see a new heaven and a new earth.
There are visionaries in the church now. People who predict the future of the church. There are folks who dream of a day when people of all races and religions will live together in peace.
There are people who strategize and clearly lay out a three-year or five-year plan for their company or for the church. They see clearly where God is leading. There is a great advantage to have farsighted vision for planning and ministry preparation.
There are some things that we already see about tomorrow and the next day. Something we see and know and can hang on to. About our future. About God. About our future with God. God is with us today and tomorrow. Nothing can separate us from God’s love for us through Jesus Christ.
God is our help in ages past and our hope for years to come. We grow in grace, and live in love. We know our future is bright when we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Those are things of the future that we can see now.
A story about Michelangelo. I don’t think it’s true, but it might help us understand how this vision might work on in our lives. Someone asked the great painter and sculptor how he was able to create such masterful statues. He answered, “I am not sure how it works exactly — but I’m able to see the vision of the beautiful statue in the marble before I even start. Then I just chip away what does not belong.”
As we chip away at what does not belong, God opens our eyes and let us become more farsighted and to live into God’s future.
■ WHICH BRINGS US to the negative of being farsighted. Farsighted means you can see what’s far from you, but you’ve got a problem seeing what’s right in front of you. You can see to read a road sign but not a book. We can’t see to chip away what doesn’t belong. It’s a problem many people have — when it comes to seeing the flaws and the failures that are right in front of them. We can’t see in ourselves what needs to be chipped away.
Jesus talked about this spiritual farsightedness in our scripture for today. Jesus hits hard at a tendency we all have — to see very clearly the mistakes and the faults far away — in others, and to miss the mistakes and faults that are right in front of us — in ourselves.
We’re good at seeing flaws in the person we’re married to, in our children, in our parents — while having blurred vision about the things we’re doing wrong. We’re quick to jump on the failings of a friend, or a coworker, or a supervisor, or a spiritual leader, and totally ignore our own failings.
When we’re quick to point out where the people are messing up, they feel judged, diminished, put down when they’re around you.
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THERE ARE LOTS OF REASONS we’re hard on other people. Sometimes, it’s because we like to feel superior. Other times, it’s because we feel inferior and we’re trying to feel better at their expense. This “attacking the speck and missing the plank” thing can be because we tend to look for someone to blame, because we want to excuse our failings by pointing out theirs.
Whatever our reasons, Jesus doesn’t like it. He calls us to self-examination, to see ourselves up close. And in seeing we make corrections to our lives, our thoughts, our actions, our attitudes toward others.
If you’re spiritually farsighted, you tend to see other people’s faults, not your own.
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IT MAY BE that you can think of someone who’s felt the hurt or the condemnation, or the belittling of your criticism. You know, you could both experience some wonderful healing if you would tell them you’re sorry and ask for their forgiveness. Can you see far down the road the two of you walking together, once again sharing life, being at peace?
When we can see clearly ourselves and chisel away the plank, then we more clearly make out our future as the people God already sees that we can be.
May God open our eyes to see.