True or False...
1. I have blind spots.
2. It is not good for me to have them.
3. Blind spots lead me into confusion.
4. It is not good for me to be apathetic about my blind spots.
5. I can't see them and need your help.
6. It is good for me to be glad for your help.
7. It is good for me to want, welcome, invite and pray for this help.
8. I am addicted to minimizing the seriousness of my blind spots.
9. All humans are like I am on the above 8 points.
10. I am on a high energy search to discover my blind spots.
Are you with me on number 10?
Do you want to be honest about your addiction?
If you are interested in being honest about your blind spots, and becoming sensitive to your addiction to minimizing them, then I suggest a simple starting point for application. This will be painful to your pride but a real blessing to the people around you. Pray regularly variations of the following. The following is a bit long for effect, but short pieces of conversation with God are good. There is no need to be formal; simply talk to God as if he were right next to you. The point is to learn to become sensitive to you weakness and need for community--for God and others. Notice as you read the following if you hear a voice telling you that you don't really need this.
"Father, thank you that Jesus is all my righteousness, holiness and wisdom. Thank you that Jesus has carried all my condemnation, shame and guilt. Thank you that my weakness is the place where your strength is made perfect. Thank you that Jesus is my new identity and that I don't need to pretend to be someone that I am not. Thank you for helping me realize that it is not good for me to have blind spots because they lead me into confusion. Thank you that you are always with me even when I get tricked by my pride into confusion. Thank you for giving me other people to remind me of your goodness and to help me notice my blind spots. Thank you that critics are always good for me to help me discover more of my blind spots or to reveal my defensiveness or other character flaws. Thank you that critics are good for me even when they have a bad attitude or are completely wrong.
"Thank you that you are my defender and you don't need my help. Thank you for declaring in the scriptures that a wise person always responds in love toward critics, even harsh ones, and that it is fools who have bad reactions. I admit that I am addicted to minimizing the seriousness of my blind spots. It seems that I often would rather be a fool than a wise person and would rather mistreat a person Christ died for than to doubt my own virtue or rightness. You have sent me saints to help me grow in wisdom and I have many times mocked them in telling them that they didn't need to remind me. I have many times been irritated or angry at your dear saints for criticizing me, even the ones I realized later had valid criticism. This is not good and is a huge blind spot. Thank you that even when I mistreat people you value highly, you never condemn me, shake your finger at me or stop rejoicing over me in Christ. Even when the critic is wrong, a wise person would have listened closely and been glad and thankful that the person cared enough to offer help, and risk getting rejected. Thank you for being patient with me and not treating me like I treat others. Thank you that you don't keep score on my critics even though I too often do. I wonder if some people have given up on offering me insight because I have been so dismissive or irritated toward them in the past. I am concerned about the blind spots of other people, and get critical that they don't seem to want to be honest about them. So why am I so insensitive about my own blind spots? Do I think I am above correction, or am I just afraid of admitting that I am weak and need other people? This is a big problem in my life and is hindering my relationship with others.
"Please bring me some critics to help me notice some blind spots and especially to help me become sensitive to my prideful defensiveness about my blind spots. And please bring me one friend whom I can trust to be gentle so that I can invite that person to point out my blind spots. I would like to start slow, so please be gentle with me. But if I am so prideful that gentleness won't work, then please do whatever it takes to soften my heart. Thank you that your ways are always good. In Jesus Christ I pray. Amen."
Questions for reflection
- Can you remember a time when you attempted to offer someone a gentle suggestion and the person responded in a defensive way?
- Did you appreciate that defensive reaction? Did you think it was good?
- How did it affect you?
- Think back to a recent time that someone criticized you. Did you welcome the criticism as an opportunity to grow in understanding? Or did you react defensively as if it were a threat to your security or rightness?
- Would that critic tell me that he felt warmly welcomed when offering you his criticism?
- Would that critic tell me that you made it easy or difficult for him to offer his insight?
- Think back again, but this time as long ago as it takes to a time when you invited someone to offer you an insight or an opinion. Notice if you can even remember having this experience.
- Can you remember asking a person for their criticism, insight or opinion when you were confident the person was going to disagree with you or point out your weakness?
Self-honesty is the point of these questions. Likely only God heard your answers. We all have room to grow in this area, but I suggest we each need to come to a place of embracing our need to grow rather than remaining unaware or apathetic about that need. It is obvious that we all do need to grow, and all do grow at some pace, even if we are unaware of it. The point of this writing is that it is good to actively embrace that need and become aware of our addiction to suppressing, resisting and hindering growth in this area.
Certainly those who are close to me would appreciate me gladly inviting their suggestions, insights, and criticism and asking clarifying questions instead of resisting and hindering such conversations. As mature adults we should be able to thrive on criticism. I read somewhere recently that only children take offense; mature adults don't. What does that say about your maturity level?