The precious gift of sight is likely one of our most valued senses. Even if we are born with imperfect vision or suffer an injury of some sort, modern medicine offers a great deal of help to regain the very best vision possible.
My husband started to wear glasses in the sixth grade due to myopia. If you can’t recall what that means, it is commonly called nearsightedness and results in not being able to see things at a distance clearly. Reading a book will not be a challenge, but seeing a board in a classroom will be.
A year ago when cataracts developed and he had laser surgery, new multi-focal lenses were implanted that gave him excellent vision without glasses for the first time since early childhood. What a gift! He still sometimes reaches up for glasses that are not there.
Modern medicine can provide a wide variety of interventions to help us physically see, but there are other challenges where we can be myopic as well as what I just described.
How well we observe or note other people with whom we have contact can also show myopic tendencies.
Like it or not, most of us see the world and others from our point of view and our own experience and current situation. Empathy or lack of it describes how well we can identify what someone else is experiencing.
Comparing us or our situations to others can happen easily, but that doesn’t boost empathy even though it may result in sympathy or pride. Comparing ourselves can distort how accurately we see the other person and what they are experiencing.
If life is going well for us, we might miss the struggle someone else is encountering or minimize it. We might even make judgments about why they might be having a hard time and believe it is a result of some fault of his or hers.
If our life situation is difficult or full of struggle, all of our energy can be consumed in just getting through the day or night and we often can miss someone else’s struggle. If a person is doing well, we might miss the truth that they had a major struggle as well at some point or will.
“Hardship finds its way into every life. It’s just much easier to see our own than other people’s.”
Lisa Wingate’s statement is one that can reveal we may be myopic.
We see a smiling man walking into church holding the hand of an adorable little boy and we think of our own life of childlessness and miss that this little boy was adopted after years of infertility and thousands of dollars spent on medical treatment that left his parents bankrupt.
We notice an older woman sitting alone in a coffee shop. She is bent now from arthritis, her clothing is out of fashion, and her shoes are scuffed and worn. We may see her as “less than” and not take time to speak to her and miss that she is a retired violinist with the local symphony who traveled the world over.
How often do we miss the powerful stories of others because we are myopic?
For as long as mankind has walked the earth and stories have been recorded we see that living is comprised of continuous change. Seasons of hardship and seasons of fruitfulness, seasons of health and seasons of illness are all a part of the deal.
“Life is a process of storms and rebuilding, of fires and regrowth, of loss and gain.”
Joseph was the favorite son of a patriarch and was blessed beyond measure, but his myopic brothers missed that what made him special to his father was really the loss of his beloved wife, Rachel. They missed that his exuberant descriptions of his dreams came from prophetic gifting and some inexperience with how to share them.
Esther was an orphan with no hope for a future when her Uncle Mordeci adopted her to live with him in exile. Her future looked bleak as she walked the streets of Susa in peasant clothes. Most would not have noticed her as they passed her, but when she was taken to the palace of the king to become a part of his harem her beauty and character gave her favor. She became queen and through her courage and the wise counsel of her uncle, she influenced the king to save her minority from certain destruction.
Jesus was born in a barn of common parents, but He was the Son of God who showed us who God is because He was and is God.
John Piper gave a powerful message in 1998 entitled, “Open My Eyes That I May See,” based on Psalm 119: 17-24.
The key to the mishap of myopia lies in the words of his title “open my eyes that I may see.”