Blind Spots: When Hidden Areas Become Exposed
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need, (Hebrews 4:12-16, KJV).
Perception is indeed one’s reality.
Yet, our perception is only as good as what we are enabled to see.
I wholeheartedly appreciate a person who tells me when there is something stuck in my teeth, caught in my hair, trailing from the bottom of my shoe, or unraveling from my garment. And God forbid, if I have something hanging from my nose.
We all have blind spots. Blind spots, are by nature neglected, and are therefore very vulnerable areas for individuals to reckon with and address. Coming to terms with these areas can be painful for various reasons.
We can think we look fine ladies, until we hold up a mirror and get another look from a different angle, right? Oh, the shock.
I have them. You have them. We all have them. None of us are exempt or immune. And when it comes to spiritual maturity, it’s imperative that we begin to welcome healthy and wholesome input from others, including godly rebuke, who genuinely love us and to whom we are accountable. It’s the only way we truly grow. When we are strong in an area we become spiritually acute, whereas someone else may be sorely underdeveloped, thereby causing undue negligence.
Family members, friends, and especially spouses are precisely the people God put in our lives who can see areas we don’t even know exist – hence the shock that comes when we are enlightened by them. When the Body of Christ functions as God intended and designed, we are all sharpened by one another, being built up, strengthened, and purified by the Spirit of God.
There is a place for godly rebuke that has sadly been lost in the Church. This is a necessary ministry that when practiced in the biblical order saves individuals and the corporate Body from great pain and suffering – and even, shall I dare say, condemnation. Sin that is rampant in the Body of Christ today should have been corporately addressed long ago.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted, (Galatians 6:1, KJV).
This is not always an issue of blatant sin. People have faults. The word “fault” in Galatians 6:1 means “unintentional error” as when a person slips, or something lapses. There is incontinence. These issues may not be sins themselves, but perhaps areas of weakness that could easily give way to sin if left unattended.
Be careful. The passage continues…
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another, (Galatians 6:2-4, KJV).
When we recognize areas in others that they don’t see, we have a choice in how to present that to them. Whether or not it is necessary, whether it should be bathed in prayer, and how to approach the subject appropriately are merely the beginning of godly confrontation.
Sin, character flaws, areas of immaturity, weaknesses, faults… these can all be blind spots. Regardless of the kind, we must be good stewards of the one we love as well as the insight we’ve been privileged to see. In other words, don’t point out the lipstick on the teeth in public at the table in the restaurant. No one with any manners would dare humiliate someone. No – instead take them aside privately and discreetly reveal the flaw. That is what we’re going to do with that information. Remember, blind spots are extraordinarily sensitive. Precisely because the individual, more than likely, has no idea they’re there. So the key is gentleness and plenty of grace and mercy. The goal is never to bring insult to injury, but to bring an awareness which they can further present to God in prayer. The goal is to restore them. The goal is to enlighten them. We can not change anyone, and it’s not our job to fix people. The people we are closest to should be those we are able to trust and be vulnerable with such sensitive areas as our personal blind spots. They can provide excellent and accurate feedback on our character, behavior, and lifestyle patterns – all the while loving us in spite of them.
Addressing a blind spot can solicit a response akin to someone gasping when you tell them there is something hanging from their nose. Be prepared for shock. It can be devastating to hear. People hold opinions of themselves which they are convinced to be accurate. However, when dark areas that are otherwise unforeseen are brought into the LIGHT it can be quite painful to hear – much less correct or change. The individual can easily feel disheartened, overwhelmed, and saddened. Or, on the contrary, they may become defensive, angered, or offended.
Be kind. Be loving. Pray. And remember, what you see in others is always subject to your own limited perception. Leave plenty of room for error if you’re the one confronting an area.
The Work of the Bridegroom
The Holy Spirit is the One who brings our blind spots to our attention. I have learned to pray that He do so on a regular basis. Dealing with areas that I readily see is hard enough. But dealing with areas to which I am blind and unaware is even more difficult. It requires the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and His tender, yet gentle guidance that unfolds these areas a little bit at a time. Through the years I have learned from Him. He doesn’t always reveal areas all at once, especially when they are deeply rooted or entrenched. He takes His time, gradually showing us what He knows we are able to handle. He works on that specific area, and when that is settled and sorted, He then reveals more. His refinement comes in stages and degrees which requires a lifetime of work in which we graduate to greater levels of freedom and transformation. It’s a constant process of sanctification and purification that only He can achieve. Only when we are fully submitted to Him in every area is He free to uncover those areas we don’t readily see.
Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish, (Ephesians 5:25-27, KJV).
I have come to love the lifestyle of complete surrender to Him. The more I am vulnerable to Him, the freer I become. I welcome Him to examine me so He may reveal those things I don’t see. It is one of the greatest liberties I know.
The Intimate Inspection
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting, (Psalm 139:23-24, KJV).
Mothers inspect their children. Spouses inspect their mates. I often think of grooming those areas we can’t see or reach – the middle back, the nape of our necks, and all those intimate hard-to-reach areas we find difficult to access or view fully. It’s not that we don’t want to address those areas, right? We do. But we often need help. This is where we become intimately vulnerable. We need others to inspect us if we’re going to remain pure and clean.
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed, (Hebrews 12:4-8 & 11-13, KJV).
The LORD inspects us. He is our Bridegroom. As such, He is the One who grooms the bride. And when He brings things to our attention we should welcome Him openly. Allow Him to reveal those areas to which you are blind. When we are resistant to Him, He often chooses other ways that can seem somewhat harsh. Let it be known such embarrassment is not necessary for the vessel who is fully surrendered to Him. He will kindly deal with those areas privately in a way that allows you to handle them with His divine guidance. This is where sanctification is realized. It is indeed a cooperative effort on the part of the believer. However, for those who are resistant to Him, He’s been known to allow more unpleasant circumstances to bring those areas to attention. When pressed with a choice, the LORD is not nearly as concerned with our egos or comfort as He is our sanctification.
True Spiritual Discernment
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will, (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, KJV).
If you sense or see something in someone, you have an obligation to pray about it before you ever assume it to be true or approach that subject with an individual – regardless of who they are, or your relationship to them. Venturing into such territory apart from prayer is simply arrogant and insensitive. Such matters deserve a worthy investment of prayer. We are told to test the spirits. And above all, we are to love as Christ loved us. Love will always seek and pursue the very best for others. It is never selfish. After praying you may be surprised to find what God would have you do with such insight. God may well assign you to silence except for prayer, which is the most powerful confrontation possible.
Spiritual discernment is more than being able to read people correctly. Christian or not, people are able to do that quite easily. On the contrary, genuine spiritual discernment is a gift given by the Holy Spirit. This gift, when it is indeed genuine, not only discerns what is negative, but also those things which are good and positive (in other people, situations, atmospheres, etc). When this gift is mature it is sharp, keen, and accurate. It is apt to save your very life and able keep you from individuals who would cause you pain or danger. It can also clearly reveal all that is good and godly, fortifying relationships and bringing necessary guidance in otherwise vague situations and circumstances.
The gift of discernment is not borne of a critical, judgmental, negative, or cynical spirit. It does not hate, tear down, or gossip and slander. All of God’s gifts operate in the fruits of the Holy Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and temperance. For those who are spiritually mature it is a gift that operates with keen acuity and accuracy, but that does not mean there is never room for error. Be willing to be wrong. In fact, be just as willing as you are to be right. Humble yourself. Our human intellect and emotions can easily cloud our sharpest spiritual senses. Let us never act in haste.
Above all, we are called to love people. Immature Christians who may have a measure of discernment often misuse or abuse this gift when their character is not yet sanctified in Christ. They can easily become critical, judgmental, and cynical of others. Unsanctified and immature character fast becomes a vulnerability, to which the enemy gains an advantage in those who would otherwise operate in the genuine gifts of the Spirit.
Vulnerability to Others
It’s sometimes easier to be vulnerable with others, especially those we don’t know or to whom we have no accountability. These are the individuals who can actually see our blind spots the best – precisely because they are an unbiased third party with a clear objective point of view. They don’t know us at all. We are complete strangers. We are completely unfettered to them, and they to us. Therefore, the risk factor in having our blind spots identified by them is often very low.
This is what enables them to see. Make no mistake, it doesn’t require a gift of the Spirit to see blind spots in others. People in all walks of life encounter people everyday with whom they interact, seeing things the individuals themselves would never notice.
The key for the believer is to welcome the opinion of others. Even when it is disagreeable, it should be carefully weighed in prayer. You’ll begin to see yourself beyond your own limited perception – which you will soon find is very limited by your own subjective opinion and point of view. And when you learn to respond in Christ, He’ll use these as opportunities to grow you, challenge you, and ultimately change you – revealing to you those blind spots He wants to purify.
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 & 4:6, KJV).
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren, (Romans 8:29, KJV).
God’s ultimate goal is to transform you into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
We are all vulnerable. Every one of us have blind spots. What we need to understand is that people see them – whether they bring them to our attention or not. There are those who will gladly let you wear the lipstick on your teeth, if you know what I mean. And there are those who will confront you. Some will do it very well. Others will fail miserably. So invite God into those areas. Surrender every part of yourself to Him. Ask Him to examine you, and your blind spots will begin to disappear.
Be willing to see yourself in His light – in truth – face to face. When the Body of Christ functions as God intended and designed we will be strengthened, edified, purified, even unified – and ultimately transformed by His Spirit.
Cheers & Shalom,