Open the Eyes of My Heart // John 9

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So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man [Jesus] is a sinner.” He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
— John 9:24-25 NASB

As I read through John 9 I was reminded of one of the "big" questions about God: If He is a loving God, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? Or why does He allow bad things to happen at all?

The whole of chapter 9 is dedicated to a blind man who is healed by Jesus. It doesn't say whether the man is good or bad -- the bible says, "a man." So I guess we can assume he's just a regular dude, with good and bad days, good and bad deeds... maybe just like me. (Except for the blind part, but more on that later.)

So Jesus and his disciples are walking by and there's this blind guy, and the disciples ask Jesus, "who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Right there my reaction was, "you jerks!" And I suppose rightly so, if being overly-agressive in my defense of people long-dead is acceptable. Because who are they -- those disciples -- to assume that because this poor man can't see, he or his parents are "bad," or "bigger sinners" than they are? 

I knew a guy who thought that young children of non-Christians went to hell "by association." A particular conversation we once had was about a 2 year old who had passed, and this guy's theory was that the child's family had gotten into a car accident because they weren't Christians, and he said the whole family went to hell, and "isn't that sad." After trying -- to no avail -- to calmly explain to him why I disagreed on many levels, I had to walk away before I either vomited in his face or said something really, very unloving.

Why are ailments, misfortunes, accidents, disease, and just plain old hard life associated with some sort of grand punishment from God? I guess our brains are somehow wired to connect SOMETHING BAD IS HAPPENING with WHAT DID I DO WRONG, but is that really healthy? And is it really accurate? Sometimes, don't things "just happen?" And even better, don't some things happen "for a reason?"

We may not ever understand why bad things happen to us. We may not ever truly understand why bad things happen to anyone. But I don't think it's fair at all to blame sin. For one thing, as for believers, THE DEBT FOR OUR SIN HAS BEEN PAID, DEATH HAS BEEN DEFEATED, AND WE HAVE POWER OVER SIN THROUGH CHRIST. Sin doesn't have power over us unless we give it power. So we don't get to blame sin when something goes wrong in our lives. And as for non-believers, they have the power to conquer sin too, and in fact they do it all of the time, because they know right from wrong and are moral human beings. They are what the world calls "good people" who happen to be disassociated with religion. 

Bad things happen to everyone though, regardless of our history of sin, our parents' history of sin, and even when we didn't spill the salt or walk under a ladder (don't blame that speeding ticket on your unlucky underwear, and don't blame your advanced illness on the lies you told and the times you shoplifted).

Here's the thing. Although I may not have been born without sight, I was born with a lot of other disfunctions of the mind and heart, and as I've shared before, I've experienced some terrible, terrible things in my life. A lot of my mind and heart are still not in working order, either. Instead of wondering what I've done wrong though to "deserve this," and instead of blaming my own or my parents' sin, I've found a way to see God's hand in my life, and to see His love for me. Hopefully others get to see God in my life too when I share bits and pieces of it here and there.

Just like only Jesus could have healed that blind man the way He did, only Jesus could have opened the eyes of my heart. Because of his once-blindness, that man was able to meet Jesus and see Him for who and what He truly was. And because of my once-blindness, I met Jesus too.

See through your heart and acknowledge God's works and goodness in your life. There won't always be an answer to "why," but there can always be an answer to "what now:" PRAISE HIM.

 

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