Monday Musings – February 10, 2014

Dear Friends,

My first car was a Ford Pinto.  My first drive in my first car was from Salem to Eugene to see the 1976 Olympic Trials.  As I arrived in Eugene, I started to change lanes.   I quickly returned to my original lane when I heard a honking.  Someone was in my blind spot.  I had looked, at least twice.  I was certain no one was there.  I was wrong.  And I have been extra careful changing lanes ever since.

We all have our blind spots.  Things we even cannot see though they are only too obvious to others.

Consider what this ship captain wrote in his diary.  “I never knew sweeter or more frequent hours of divine communion, than in my last two voyages to Guinea, when I was either almost secluded from society on shipboard, or when on shore . . . I have wandered through the woods reflecting on the singular goodness of the Lord to me.”  John Newton wrote these words while transporting African slaves.  He made his sizable fortune in the slave trading business.

If you recognize the name, you know that John Newton is the one who wrote “Amazing Grace”, which includes the line, “I once was blind, but now I see.”  I often hear the claim that he wrote this hymn after he saw the error of his ways and that “Amazing Grace” is an example of what the grace of God can do to change a person.  Historians disagree.  There is every reason to believe he wrote, “I once was blind, but now I see”, while he was still very much involved in the slave business, and before he had spoken or written a single word against it.

Later he did come a conviction of how wrong slavery was.  He truly did get his sight back.  He gave the rest of his life to doing everything in his power to end the slave trade.  But for much of his life, John Newton lived with a huge blind spot.

What are your blind spots?  That’s actually a trick question.  “Blind spots” by definition are things you cannot see.  So how would you know what they are?  Here’s a better question: Are you taking seriously those who are lovingly and patiently trying to point out your blind spots? Are you listening to the “honking horn” of someone who is trying to warn you before you make a huge mistake?  Are you realizing they are on your side?  They aren’t trying to tear you down. They are trying to lift you up.  I imagine John Newton had people in his life who helped him see the error of his ways.  Eventually, he took those voices seriously.  How about you?

In Christ,

John