My friend, Cory, is always sending me things he finds funny. And most of the time I think they’re funny too. He and I go back a long way. My earliest memory of him is when we were both in kindergarten. In high school, we spent a lot of hours making Mr. Bill home movies, finding creative ways to run over him with remote control monster trucks with heavy metal blaring in the background. We kind of drifted apart in our adulthood, but in the last several years, he and I have reconnected. The waters have been deep sometimes, but one thing has not changed. We still enjoy laughing.
The other day, he sent me a comic. We both loved The Far Side when it was in its heyday. It was a sad day when Gary Larson put down his pencil. Since then, while nothing has ever consistently superseded The Far Side, every now and then we find comic frames that are funny like the Far Side was funny. This one was one of those…
I looked at it for a moment, chuckled, but then it occurred to me how profound this comic actually is. Just in case you don’t see it, the painter is a rhinoceros, and in everyone of his paintings, you see his horn. It’s always in his field of view, it’s part of his landscape, so it shows up in all of his paintings! He doesn’t see it as a problem, because everywhere he looks, he always sees his horn. From his perspective, and I suppose from the perspective of every rhinoceros, there’s a horn that protrudes right up the middle of everything… and that’s completely normal for rhinoceroses. Rhinoceroses can’t envision a life where their horn isn’t always in their vision. It’s normal, and because it shows up in his paintings without a second thought, it’s probably never even on their mind that it might not be normal for others.
Everyone has a horn in their vision that they don’t see. Jesus used a different word: he called them logs.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3)
Let me cut to the chase. Christian, what’s the horn in your view that’s blocking your vision and distorting your view of reality? If you’re like most people, you have no idea because either you’re surrounded by other rhinoceroses with the same distortion in their view, or you’ve just never thought about it because there’s nothing in your life challenging you to take a deeper look. It’s probably a mix both for most of us. Usually, we have to have our worlds rocked by something that force feeds us some perspective. And usually when we’re force fed perspective, we tend to squirm and protest because no one likes being force fed anything.
Jesus teaches us to take a good look at ourselves before we raise an accusation against a brother.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)
Take note of your own blind spots before you point out someone else’s blind spots. Be aware and confessed up of your own sins before you help someone with their problems. Notice I said help. There’s a difference between blind judgments and helping someone. Blind judgments help no one and only serve to elevate the one making accusations. They create distance, they foster alienation, and only serve to stir up anger. But if you really want to help someone, take a good look at your own problems first. When you take the time to let the Holy Spirit shed light on your problems, you’ll find that you’re just as blind as your brother. When you understand your own brokenness, when you understand that your view of reality is distorted in its own way, then you’ll possess the humility to approach your brother in a spirit of gentleness and compassion.
Let’s put some rubber on the road with this. Many of the race issues we face spring from our own blindness. When neither side takes the time to examine their own distortions of reality, no one wins, and we remain in a stalemate. Whites have reality distortions and blacks have reality distortions… we all have a horn in our view that we don’t notice; logs in our eyes that need removing. If we want to have peace, everyone has to begin by conceding that their own points of view are skewed and imperfect, and therefore fallible. If you come to the table unwilling to acknowledge your own fallibility, you’ve already lost. Everyone has a horn in their vision that they don’t notice unless someone else points it out. The question is are you teachable and humble to receive that kind of correction?
In family disputes, unless you take the time to remove the horn from your vision, you’ll never be prepared to truly pursue peace. Peacemakers are meek; they don’t insist on having things their way, although they could, even when they may have a right to do so. Yes, Jesus said he came to bring a sword that causes division, but don’t let that be your out for being intractable. If you aren’t shedding tears of sorrow as you pick up that sword, then you aren’t worthy to wield it. Your heart should break over division, even if it is necessary. I’m telling you, the sword may not be necessary if you take the time to let the Holy Spirit show you where you’re blind and restore sight in that area of your life. Your heart will be filled with compassion instead of judgment, and that love will cover a multitude of sins, and God will heal the rifts in your family relationships.
So I ask again: what’s the horn in your view that’s blocking your vision and distorting your view of reality? What are you going to do about it? You have one; we all do. Will you let the Spirit of God show you and lead you in removing it? Or will you be content in your blindness? You’d be surprised at how many people would rather be blind. I hope you’re not one of them.