Rev. La Andriamihaja

Rev. La Andriamihaja 

John 9:1-7, 13-17, 26-40

Shortly after my wife and I moved to Victoria, three years ago, I was told by certain men in my congregation to buy and drive a pickup truck. “After all,” they said, “you’re in Texas now – it’s what we do.” Following their advice, I purchased one that notifies me when a car is in my blind spots.

Do you know about blind spots? It’s the areas that are right over your left or right shoulders that you can’t see in your rear-view mirrors when you sit behind the wheel. It’s a dangerous spot when you’re changing lanes if you don’t first turn your head to look. Otherwise, you can’t see if there’s a car right next to you when you change lanes.

Well, in John 9:1-3, there’s a story about Jesus, while walking with his disciples, they saw a blind beggar on the street. The irony of the story is that the disciples’ question to Jesus revealed their own spiritual blindness. As with driving on public roadways, there are blind spots in faith that are just as dangerous. They are called spiritual blind spots which occurs when a Christian doesn’t really understand something and make assumptions and cast judgments about others. Such is the case with Jesus’ disciples in verses 1-2, “As he (and his disciples) went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:1-2)

Do you see the spiritual blind spot that the disciples had? It’s not surprising that they had such a spiritual blind spot because it’s what was taught by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and believed by the people back then – that every pain and suffering that happens in one’s life is God’s punishment for sins committed. So, it was easy to make a “spiritual lane change” without checking their spiritual blind spots first. They quickly assumed that either this man sinned and got what he deserved, or his parents did and caused his blindness.

Well, it’s clear that the disciples didn’t understand that more often than not, bad things happen to good people, which boggles our minds and sink our hearts. We live in a broken world where we’ve been conditioned to accept the old adage that “only the strong survives.” And so, our cultures and our societies would have us believe that if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch with the Poodles. After all, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and if you mess up, you deserve what’s coming to you. Such was the nature of the disciples’ spiritual blind spots – what’s yours?

When you see someone suffering, or going through life crisis, do you think, “He must have sinned to be that way.” And what about when you’re going through crisis of your own? – do you ask, “Why is God punishing me? What did I do to deserve this?” You see, questions and sentiments like these are often signs of spiritual blind spots that leads to the faulty conclusion about God and us. That’s why Jesus stepped in and cleared his disciples’ spiritual blind spots by declaring that: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3). In other words, bad things sometimes happen to good people so that the work of God might be displayed in a person’s life. Yes, sometimes God allows bad things to happen so he can reveal his glory and power through that person’s situation.

Friends, for the remainder of this Lenten season, I invite and encourage you to recall those tough and difficult times in your life and search for how God’s mercy, grace and power were revealed in your life then. I promise you God was with you the whole time and worked it out for you, for his glory. Amen.

Pastor La Andriamihaja has been a Lutheran pastor for 30 years. He serves as the senior pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, at North Ben Jordan Street and Crestwood Drive.