Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”( Luke 6:39-42)
Christ has a way of asking questions that tap gently (or sometimes knock heavily) upon our heart’s door and open it to deep ponderings. “Can the blind person guide a blind person?” he asked his disciples. Of course, both will fall into a pit. But what does the deeper “knocking” of that question suggest to us? Perhaps it is an invitation to ask ourselves: “Who is leading me?”
Are we being led by our own blindness or that of others? Christ wants to be our eyes. He wants us to learn to see what he sees in others, in circumstances, in our own selves, in God’s action in life, and in the world.
To do that, to be that, we must recognize that our tendency to criticize others is a deflection of not looking in the spiritual mirror of conscience. We see others’ faults much more clearly, sometimes, than we see our own. He wants us to take out the forest of redwoods from our own eyes so that we can see clearly and afterward help our neighbor to address their own problems.
In all of this, he is trying to help us see things as he does, to see things as they really are. That’s why there’s a sentence that seems out of place. After talking about the blind leading the blind and before speaking about planks and specks, he says, “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.”
Jesus wants us to be fully trained so that we might become like him. To do that, we need to see everything as he does. We need to view everything with the eyes of faith. And for that, we need to remove all of the obstacles that impair our vision.
It is only then that we can live a life of kindness. For kindness guided every step of Jesus.
Mark Twain called kindness a language that the deaf can hear, and the blind can read. What is kindness? It is the ability to understand another person, sensing the burdens which that person must carry, and using our own resources and power to ease those burdens. Kindness is in reality a forceful power than can save and heal.
We are talented responsible people. From day to day we live, doing the things which our lives require of us. How important is it for us not to undervalue the importance of kindness? When was the last time you were kind? You make decisions with your spouse, give advice to your spouse. But when was the last time you tried to understand what was going on inside of your spouse? When did you see what he or she needed from you and tried to meet that need? To do so would be an act of kindness.
You provide for your children and give them guidance. When was the last time you tried to recognize their insecurities and take steps to assure them of their goodness, their value and their ability to succeed? To do so would be an act of kindness.
We should not forget the power that comes from kindness. Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can read. Kindness can cut through hypocrisy and posturing. It can eliminate indifference and selfishness.
This week, then, as we work and play, as we organize and create, as we advise and guide others, let us not forget to follow the example of Jesus. Let us recognize the importance of understanding others, of sensing what they need, of hearing their cries for help. Let us not forget to do the kind thing.
Prayer of The Day
“O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name’s sake.” (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century)
Jesus states a heavenly principle we can stake our lives on: what you give to others (and how you treat others) will return to you (Mark 4:24). The Lord knows our faults and he sees all, even the imperfections and sins of the heart which we cannot recognize in ourselves. Like a gentle father and a skillful doctor he patiently draws us to his seat of mercy and removes the cancer of sin which inhabits our hearts. Do you trust in God’s mercy and grace? Ask the Lord to flood your heart with his loving-kindness and mercy that you may only have room for charity, forbearance, and kindness towards your neighbor.