Those first glasses seemed like miracles to this child. I remember people saying, “It’s a shame she has to wear those big, ugly things.” Yes, they did make my eyes, which were actually too small, look huge and bulging behind those thick lenses, but all I cared about was the fact that I could see for the first time in my life. I had, for instance, never seen bugs before. My mother says I was particularly enthralled with ants, and she would often catch me leaning over gazing at them intently as they scurried about on the concrete or through the blades of grass, something else I had never seen but only felt with my hands.
They were indeed miracles for me, but they did not fix everything. I could only see what was right in front of me. I had no peripheral vision and could not see what was under my feet. I stumbled a lot.
People who come to the Bible with preconceived notions do exactly the same thing. If a particular doctrine has been drummed into one’s head, he will never see the truth of a scripture that refutes it. His brain refuses to. That’s why you become so frustrated with your friends when you show them something in black and white and they say, “I don’t see it that way.” The truth is, they really don’t see it that way. Their glasses are distorting some things and hiding others.
But here is the scary thing: if other people can be blinded by teachings they have heard all their lives, the same thing can happen to me, and it can happen to you. Even good-hearted people who are trying to obey God and serve him in the smallest detail can miss the obvious. Do you want some examples?
Matthew 15:8,9 was not written about denominational theologians and their human creeds, the only way I ever heard this verse applied as a child. It was written to people of God who tried to follow his law exactly but who had a habit of creating traditions they counted as even more important than the law of God, even to the point of refusing fellowship to those who broke those traditions. It was written to us!
Romans 6 was not written to prove either the necessity of baptism or the form it should take (immersion). It was written to Christians who had already been baptized to tell them they should live like they had been baptized. It was written to us!
James 2 was not written to people who believe in salvation by faith only in the Protestant denominational sense. It was written to Christians who believed that as long as they assembled, and never did the big bad sins (by their definition), they were just fine. They didn’t really have to do good deeds, show mercy and kindness, or serve others. It was written to us!
1 Cor 14:15, Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 were not written as proof texts for our a capella singing. They were written to show us how to sing and why; to command us to sing, not simply mutter and certainly not to sit there close-mouthed. Singing is not a matter of choice, folks, any more than taking the Lord’s Supper is. That is what those verses teach, and they were written to us!
I could go on and on. We must be every bit as careful as our religious friends when we read the scriptures. Some of the phrases we use are simply not there. Some of the notions we have are simply not so. We are just as blind as our friends, just as much victims of our own tunnel vision, if we accept the things we have always heard or been taught without checking them out with an open mind. Worst of all, we often miss things that will make a huge difference in our service to God.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! Psalm 119:18,19.