We learned about blind spots (one way or another) when we started driving. You check your mirrors and begin to change lanes, and WHAM- out of nowhere, there’s a car in the lane RIGHT beside you. You’re scared out of your wits, adrenaline takes over, and you swerve back into your lane. As your heart slows down to 120 beats a minute, you begin to think back over what you saw as you began to change lanes, and you got nothing. No cars nearby that you could see. That you could see, even though they were there, and many other drivers on the road saw them.
The phenomenon we call “blind spots” are places in our field of vision that we cannot see because of an obscuration. I won’t go scientific on you, but feel free to do a web search to read how our two eyes work together to trick us. (Trivia fact: all vertebrates have blind spots. This bit of information is totally free…. you’re welcome.)
I think we also have spiritual blind spots, but you probably won’t find a scientific explanation for this type in a web search (except maybe this post!), because I kinda made up the phrase. For me this describes what happens when someone exhibits a risky behavior or is in a harmful situation that everyone else can plainly see, but that person is blissfully oblivious. (Think the toilet paper on the shoe, or the “kick me” sign on the back, but with bigger stakes.) Usually, the person is engaged in something or involved with someone that is inflicting pain on themselves, but they somehow don’t see it. It’s only after a near miss (or a crash) that he or she realizes exactly what they were doing to themselves (drinking heavily/often, being involved in a toxic relationship, straying from God’s ways, etc.) After the fact, it’s easy to see how dangerous the situation was, but in the middle of it all, because the danger was in one of the person’s spiritual blind spots, they missed it.
So since we all have spiritual blind spots, we need a trusted “spotter”, someone who loves us enough to tell us the truth, and to whom we give permission to speak into our lives for our own protection. It sounds really good (and easy) in theory, but in real time, we tend to resist (okay, resent) people pointing out where we may be in danger, because usually danger feels good. That’s the evil one’s ploy to keep us where damage can occur to our souls. So you’ll need a dependable spotter.
So, think about who you know who would make a good spiritual blind spotter. Here are a few character traits that would probably serve you well: 1) a Jesus follower 2) someone who has recovered from some near misses or crashes of their own, and learned some solid life lessons from them 3) someone who you respect for their wise decisions 4) someone who is willing to risk ticking you off to help you escape from a bad deal 5) someone your mom would approve of (just threw that in there).
If you’re having trouble coming up with high quality candidates, uh, consider that a clue- cultivate some new relationships that fit the above list. Without a friend or two in our lives like this, we’re left to fend for ourselves against stuff we cannot see. Your spiritual health (and peace of mind) is worth it, don’t you think?
By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NCV)
Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.