The old adage, “Seeing is believing,” proclaims the value of visual observation, and every court and legal system ever devised has confirmed that eyewitness testimony is a source of powerful and convincing evidence. Saying “I saw it with my own eyes” can sound convincing and authoritative, but is visual testimony always the ultimate test in determining whether or not something is true? Magicians, con artists, and frauds of every description have been using that “seeing is believing” idea to crush people’s hopes and separate them from their money for untold generations.
How about Turning It Around? ~
In many cases, it would be much more accurate if we turned the phrase around and said, “believing is seeing.” All too often, what we really “see” is much more the product of what we believe than the images that pass through our optical apparatus. Images we see are meaningless until our brains interpret them. Our minds, not our eyes, control the process that dictates how we respond. Corrective lenses might help clarify the images that our eyes deliver to our brains, but they can’t adjust what we do about them. Because of that, we are vulnerable to one of the most prevalent and devastating forms of blindness plaguing the nation and the world. The Apostle, Paul, declared that the devil and the world system he controls are responsible for a condition Paul called “blindness of the mind”:
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NKJV)
Loss of physical sight in and of itself may not be life threatening, but it severely handicaps those who are stricken with it. Situations and conditions that sighted people may not even notice can be extremely challenging, even dangerous, for blind people. Blindness robs people of many of the joys that find their way into our hearts through our eyes, like seeing a smile on the face of someone deeply loved, or the inexpressible awe inspired by the iridescent colors of a sunset. Physical blindness represents a tragic loss, but the blindness Paul warns about is far more extensive, and the larceny perpetrated by it cannot be measured in terms of material values.
Symptoms Can Vary ~
Blindness of the mind is more than a mental phenomenon. At its root, it is a spiritual condition, but its impact is not limited to religious issues. What we believe exerts overwhelming influence over our emotional and behavioral reactions to what we see with our eyes. Like other disorders, the observable symptoms of mental blindness are not the same for everyone. Its effects vary at different times and under different circumstances, but the following characteristics are fairly standard:
- Blinded minds are unable to interpret information accurately, especially when spiritual elements are involved. For example, in spite of witnessing public displays of Jesus’ divine power and authority that were almost commonplace, His detractors could only see Him as a threat to their power and remained ignorant as to who He was and what His presence meant. In the same way, blinded minds boldly declare that the most destructive and perverse forms of human behavior should be protected rights and privileges.
- For blinded minds, personal pleasure has overwhelming authority in questions with moral implications. Traditional standards, especially if they have Biblical support, are rejected or ignored in favor of personal taste, popular appeal, and group acceptance. Immediate gratification eclipses any consideration of long-term satisfaction and fulfillment.
- The concept of personal identity is warped and twisted in minds that are spiritually blinded. Associating with traditionally accepted terms such as family, career, geographical region, or service related characteristics is rejected in favor of things like sexual preference; skin color; radical, anti-social groups and factions; entertainment icons; musicians; and ideological activists. Their view of the world is governed by the behaviors, attitudes, and rebellious manifests of their chosen icons.
- Blinded minds fear exposure to alternative or contradictory information, and they purposefully avoid it. Rather than engage in a fair exchange of ideas and viewpoints, the mentally blind devote their energies toward humiliating and discrediting all who hold divergent opinions. Retreating into even greater levels of darkness is an instinctive reaction when blinded minds are confronted with and reject the light of spiritual truth.
- Response patterns to pain and loss for blinded minds are similar to those displayed by those with addictive disorders. Even though their behaviors cause relational chaos, physical trauma, and financial catastrophes, they never see their warped, erratic, and irrational value system as the problem. Accepting responsibility, especially regarding issues with moral implications, is abhorrent to spiritually blinded minds. Concocting excuses and blaming others are their most cherished and heavily practiced avoidance mechanisms.
Perennial dissatisfaction blended with indiscriminate and irrational hatred are common characteristics of those who are spiritually blind. The very idea that God, as the Bible presents Him, exists is seen as oppositional at best. They often retaliate by redefining Him in ways that support and promote the lusts that their chosen lifestyle demands. Rather than a source of help and hope, the God of the Bible is perceived as an enemy and threat to all they hold dear.
Paradoxical Humor and a Warning ~
Jesus made a humorously sarcastic but tragically true comment that highlights the paradoxical effect of spiritual blindness. He referred to the primary religious leaders of His day as:
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Matthew 23:24 (NKJV)
Beyond that, there’s one more paradoxical admonition that must be considered as we explore this subject. Jesus used the role of physical light through our eyes in guiding our comprehension and behavior to illustrate a greater truth and to deliver a sobering warning:
Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. Luke 11:35 (NKJV)
The inference is clear. If our minds are shut off from God and denied the truth revealed in His Word, there is no means of recognizing, understanding, or expressing anything God defines as good (Romans 3:12). There are none so tragically blind as those who think they can see, and none so dangerously ignorant as those who think they know. These trying times demand that we open our eyes daily on the truth of the Bible to determine whether what we think we see is real and whether what we think we know is true.
** Join us next week as we continue this discussion and explore some of the mechanisms the enemy uses to keep us in the dark, and suggest ways we can help bring light to blinded minds. **
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