Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34 ESV)
Some translations read single or sound or clear, instead of ‘healthy’…all of them have seemed appropriate to me recently, since for at least two years I had definitely NOT had two eyes which were sound and clear.
My right eye was in fact so unsound that I could not see any detail which was further than one inch from my eyeball. If I wanted to scare myself silly, all I had to do was close my left eye (which is 20/20) while driving. Gulp. Not a good experience.
For some time now, my brain has had to contend with two sets of data coming in from my two radically different eyes, one eye sending clear and accurate signals, the other sending junk data. I had not realized until recently how fatiguing it has been, and how quickly I was finding myself tired of reading–me, for whom reading has always been my preferred leisure activity, and something I pursued almost compulsively. I was the kid who would read the back of the cereal box if there was nothing else on the table to read, the one who lived in dread of having to wait five minutes anywhere, anytime, without a book in my possession.
I’m still that kid, by the way. Some things don’t change.
What has changed, since Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM, is the sight in my right eye. At that moment, when the surgeon implanted a new lens after removing my cataract-clouded old one, my sight became whole and sound and single again. And it feels like nothing short of a miracle.
All my thinking about sight, and having both a good and a bad eye, has made me ponder some of the Biblical metaphors using eyes, sight and vision:
“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
(I John 2:11)
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18)
“…the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;”
“…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18)
So, among other things, hatred causes (spiritual) blindness…it clouds our hearts and minds to truth. (The Bible also lists many other causes of spiritual blindness, including: bribe-taking, deserting those one is leading, honoring tradition above God’s Word, forgetting one’s standing in Christ by neglecting spiritual growth, and being proud of material wealth.
The source of enLIGHTenment is the LORD, whose Word brings sight, joy and hope.
We could stop right here and just go ponder those verses for awhile. In fact, you’re welcome to do that. Consider this a Selah.
But I think there is much more to reflect on here (vision pun intended). I’m considering all the ways that believers today have double vision: there is clear-sighted understanding coming from their pastors, Bible studies, Christian friends, and the Holy Spirit–but a cloud of junk images keeps intruding from all the messages the world, the flesh and the devil introduce.
- Do you ever grow weary of trying to focus on what is true?
- Do you struggle at times to keep a clear image of what is “honorable…just…pure…lovely” in your sights? (See Philippians 4:8)
- Do the worries and concerns of life fog up your lens so that you don’t look to Jesus for your strength, wisdom and hope?
Perhaps this is one way to interpret one of Jesus’ radical sayings:
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.“ (Matthew 5:29a)
(It occurs to me that I have rather literally done that this week. Wow.)
Perhaps today you will have time to contemplate what areas of your life might contain “junk messages” which you are fighting to ignore.
Just as we can’t serve two Masters, we can’t truly see two contradictory messages at the same time and attend to both of them. But the constant strain of tuning out the wrong stuff is wearying.
We can’t ever completely eliminate the “bad data” we’re receiving–the world bombards us with its garbage. But we can make some careful choices that limit the amount of junk we have to filter.
May this week bring you all a clearer vision of the Way, the Truth and the Life.
[All Scripture quotations (and links) are from the English Standard Version, copyright 2001, Good News Publishers. ]