Have you ever arrived home after an evening out and discovered that there, right on the corner of your mouth, was a bit of food? Or maybe you’ve missed a spot when you shaved and it looks distracting. Maybe your mascara smeared with a streak of terror on your cheek.
We all have blind spots. What other people see so clearly we miss. And when we discover our blind spot, we can feel utterly mortified. How did I miss this? Why didn’t anyone tell me? But often times, someone was motioning to wipe that bit of food and we missed their subtle hint.
Because we have blind spots, a church that grows in a gospel culture will hold up the Word of God and gently, patiently, and helpfully bring us to correction, letting the Word be a mirror (Jas. 1:25). What is obvious to others might take us weeks, months, even years to see. Without the love, patience and gentleness of others bringing me before God’s Word and rightly applying it in my life, I can excuse, explain, defend, and deceive myself. In other words, my explanations, my rationalizations, and even my reasonable explanations can be attempts to justify myself.
Since we all have blind spots, how can we grow a gospel culture as a church?
First, we ought to be a people who genuinely love one another. Jesus said that love would be the hallmark of his disciples (Jn. 13:34-35). The Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts when we are Christ’s disciples (Rom. 5:5). Therefore, before we become a church where we point out others’ blind spots, we want to be a people who are radically for the good of one another (Rom. 15:1-7).
Second, we want to grow in encouragement (1 Thess. 5:11). Can we see ways that people are growing in the grace of the Lord and find appropriate ways to tell them about this grace? Can I offer a word of support that spurs a brother or sister in Christ forward (Eph. 4:29)?
Third, we ought to listen to others well (Prov. 12:15). Am I able to hear what my brother or sister in Christ has said as a word of advice without further explaining my situation or defending my actions? Can I see how their point of view may be valid?
Fourth, I remember how patient and kind the Lord has been with me (2 Pe. 3:15). Therefore, I want to be patient with others. While I might see their faults and sins like a flashing light in the darkness, can I lovingly walk with them patiently, helping them, even when they stumble and fall, without being critical?
Finally, knowing that I have blind spots, can I ask for others to help me see what I don’t see (Prov. 19:20)? Can I invite feedback so that I might grow in godliness?
What might we look like as a church when we radically love one another? How might our marriages reflect Christ more clearly when husbands and wives really listen to the heart of the other? How might our parenting be marked with kindness?
Our all-knowing God sees each one of us, warts and all. Yet in his patience, love, and kindness, he is working out his redemptive grace in you and me so that we might look more like Christ. Can’t I grow a bit more like him in this regard?
Thankful for Christ’s patience and lovingkindness,