From Mom's Collection -

Born Blind

by Mary E. Stephens
March 13, 2021

Matthew 13:14-16 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

The story goes...

A preacher in Hyde Park had just finished what he had to say when a man stepped from the crowd and addressed the company in this strain:

"Ladies and gentlemen, you have been listening to this chap talking about God, Heaven, and Jesus Christ. He has had a lot to say about sin and death, the devil and hell. I hope you won't believe a word of it. I don't. I refuse to believe in what I cannot see."

And in this manner he went on for some time ridiculing faith in anything that could not be seen.

As he finished, another man elbowed his way forward and on the this wise he, too, addressed the company:

"Friends, I hear that not far from here runs a river. I don't believe it. Many declare the grass hereabouts is a beautiful green. I don't believe it. And some also say that by these walks are pretty shrubs which yearly blossom forth to please the eye of man and make pleasant the surroundings. Again, let me declare, I don't believe it! By all this, however, I am sure that most of you standing here will decided that I am talking like a fool. Really, I am serious.

"I have never seen the river. I have never seen the grass; never looked upon a beautiful flower, for I was born blind. The more I talked to you in this strain, the more it would appear to you that I must be blind, and unless sight is given to me, I shall never see the flowers, the grass, and the river flowing silently to the sea.

"But does that justify my insisting that what I cannot see I will not believe? Certainly not!"

Turning in the direction of the other man, the blind man went on:

"You, sir, by your statements, disprove nothing that has been said. What you do prove, however, is that you are blind -- spiritually blind -- and that is why you do not understand what many people here know to be true."

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My thoughts:

My Gramma Hoover used to quote that old saying, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

When people say that they will only believe in things they can see or touch they generally fail to realize how much we cannot see or touch.

Love, friendship, trust, loyalty, honor, and many other things are emotions or qualities that are, in fact, not seen or touched. Why would I say that? Because often these things have been presented as truth, only to be proven false at some later time because the source was acting those things out for some self-serving motive. How often has love or friendship or loyalty been proven false? How often is trust or honor betrayed by actions? Yet, they are believed in and, in fact, many times they are proven to be true. But, the point is, there is no way to know for certain that they are there and are real except that the person who wants them to be true believes in them. Many men and women have found, to their dismay and pain, that their belief in someone's love or friendship or loyalty was misplaced. The love, friendship, or loyalty was not there.

There are no doubt a great many things in history that are commonly believed and yet they are not irrefutably true. For example, there is a tremendous debate as to who William Shakespeare actually was because the history around him is so unclear. Things are presented as absolutely true about him and people will believe it even though they never saw him or touched him themselves.

It has been said that there is more evidence from history that Jesus Christ existed than that Plato or Aristotle existed. Yet the world eagerly embraces those two Greek philosophers as true facts and dismisses Jesus Christ as a lie or legend or some nobody who happened to make it big. Again, they cannot see or touch Plato or Aristotle, and yet by faith they believe these men existed.

In the end, or perhaps in the bigger picture, the issue isn't about what they can see or not see. It is not about what they can touch with their hands. It is actually about their hard hearts and what they refuse to believe because they do not want to admit the consequences of that truth. To admit that there is a God who created all things is to admit that He has a prior claim to everything He has created, because obviously if He created it then He has a plan for it. A Creator with a plan means we, as His creation, have an obligation to Him in some way. This is highly offensive to people who worship their own intellect and ideals as god. Our world is full of such people today.

To acknowledge that there is a heaven and hell is to accept that there is such a thing as sin. It is to admit that there is some reward to both the righteous and to the unrighteous - one a good reward and one a just punishment. This is odious to people who wish to live their lives by their own standards of right and wrong without reference to a just and holy God or thought to where they will end up after this life is ended.

Ultimately it comes down to a very basic problem. They don't want to believe, so they do not. Saying they can't see it or touch it is an excuse. They are blind, but they refuse to see it.

In Romans 1 God went into a lot of detail to explain the people who choose willfully to follow the road to perdition.

Romans 1:20-22 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [Emphasis added.]

You see they are without excuse. God has shown Himself from the very beginning by the things that He made. Many people in various parts of the world have people in their ancestry who knew God but did not glorify Him as God and were unthankful. Their vain imaginations and foolish hearts have passed the darkness on to the following generations and we now have people who do not know who God is, and because of the "wise fools" who taught them, they actually feel self-satisfied to say either that He doesn't exist or that they hate Him.

Romans 1 goes on to say a great deal, but eventually we come to this in verse 28: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  

When people are willfully blind and determined to get rid of God from their knowledge, He will eventually give them over to a reprobate mind. He is "...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Pt. 3:9). But He also will not force someone to know Him who is determined not to.

A tremendous example of this is Pharaoh who refused to let the children of Israel go when Moses and Aaron stood before him with their request and then God's outright command and condemnation. Pharaoh was given an opportunity at first to comply willingly with the Israelites leaving to worship God, but the scripture tells us that he hardened his heart, even in the face of all the signs and wonders. In Exodus 8:15 and 32 we are told that Pharaoh hardened his heart. Of course, we know he refused to listen repeatedly. In Exodus 9:34 we read, "And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants." So, now, not only was he hardening his heart, but his servants were following his example. Notice that "...he sinned yet more..." He was building up wrath against himself and his nation. But, then things take an interesting turn in Exodus 10:1, And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:  And again in Exodus 11:10, And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

You see, when people harden their hearts repeatedly to the truth of God, at some point He will harden their hearts or give them over to a reprobate mind. This is a very bad position to be in. I honestly do not know if these people can repent or not. There may be a sense in which they have sealed their fate, they have sinned away the day of grace. They have willfully blinded their eyes and shut their ears to the truth.

But, lest we think too highly of ourselves for having come to faith and belief in God, Christian, let's remember that we are all "born blind." Blind to spiritual things, that is. We may see from creation and other things that God is and that He is the righteous Judge, but the natural man - the old dead flesh - cannot understand spiritual things without the help of the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Matthew 11:27-30 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It is only by coming to Christ in simple faith and belief that we can have access to that Spirit who makes the hidden things of God plain. He removes the blindness to spiritual things by making us alive and giving us understanding.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Ephesians 1:15-19 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Remember the story of the blind man in John chapter 9? He was born blind physically, and he was healed by Jesus. The Pharisees were angry that Jesus had healed him on the Sabbath day, and so they were determined to try to prove either that the man was not born blind or to discredit the miracle somehow. After they had questioned the man and his parents and were not getting the answers they wanted, they resorted to declaring that Jesus was a sinner.

John 9:24-27 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

They could not understand how the man could see when they did not believe it.

I look forward to meeting this man in heaven. I love his use of sarcasm with them. He may have been blind all his life, but his brain was sharp, and he saw far more than these Pharisees did who had been seeing all their lives. He understood that a miracle had happened and that the men in front of him would not believe it even if he told them again and again - because they refused to believe.

Sometimes we talk with people like this. No matter what we say, or how much we explain about what we see, they refuse to believe it and they insist on mocking or belittling our belief. Know this, God isn't threatened by their unbelief and refusal to see the truth. He is in control and He will give them the fruit of their ways, as we saw in Romans 1. Since we don't know who God has given over to a reprobate mind, we can pray that their eyes will be opened through faith in Jesus Christ, but we cannot open their eyes by our own efforts. God may use us to point them in the right direction, but ultimately they have to receive Him on His terms, and it is only through the miracle of the new birth that their spiritual eyes will be opened and they will understand the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

background and graphics by Mary Stephens
vintage graphic: unknown source