Years ago I was driving into Rockport Indiana in the first new car we’d ever bought; a Ford Escort. It only had around 600 miles on it at the time and was barely broken in. As I entered the town a car in the approaching lane swerved into my lane suddenly and unexpectedly, clobbering my car hard and throwing me against the door. Thankfully, even though I was sore for a week, nobody was seriously injured. The car, however, was a total loss. The driver of the other vehicle was apparently trying to make a left-hand turn through me. “I looked at you but I just didn’t see you,” he said.
Then several months ago I was sitting at a red light on 3rd street near the courthouse behind another vehicle. As I waited for the light to change there was a sudden “WHOMP” and I lurched forward. A van had rear-ended me while I sat there. Again, nobody was hurt and sitting in front of the courthouse the police were quickly on the scene. The driver of the van was quite apologetic. “I just didn’t see you,” he told me.
There is a difference between looking and seeing.
I can’t criticize these drivers too strongly, however, because I’ve done the same thing. I’ve looked without seeing. I’ve searched for that salt shaker when it was sitting on the shelf in front of me, or sought my wallet or keys when they were right on the table. We all tend to do this, and we all tend to do this especially with our own faults. As Jesus says:
“…how can you say to your neighbor, "Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye. (Luke 6:42 NRSV)
We are preparing to enter into the season of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday on March 6th of this year. It’s traditionally a time for self reflection and introspection. It’s a time for us to make small changes in our lives that may have enormous consequences in the end. It’s a time to look and see the logs in our own eyes.
So how does one go about looking and seeing? We do it by focusing on what we should be looking at, putting pride and preconceived notions on hold, and opening ourselves up to new visions and insights. God has a hard time revealing new things when we only see what we want to see.
This Lent let’s focus on those things in our lives we need to change. Let’s put pride and preconceived notions on hold, and open ourselves to new insights from God. Let’s move from merely looking to actually seeing.
Lent is an appropriate time to let our guard down and examine our lives humbly and honestly. That's something we need to do before we hit the road, or another car.
Yours in Christ;