It's not so much total spiritual blindness that has launched our affection for the differentials of gray. No, even when my optical equipment works there can be clarity issues. So, myopia these days may actually be an out-of-focus condition that prevents clear vision. Perhaps we're suddenly color blind because the lens is distorted.
There's an interesting lesson in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 8. Jesus healed a blind man (Mark 8:22-26). At first the man could see indistinctly, men as if they were trees walking. When Jesus touched the man again, he could see clearly. In the very next pericope, Jesus asked the disciples "Who do people say that I am?" (8:27). Their reply was as obscure as the man's sight. They gave vague answers, reflecting what they were hearing about Him. When pressed their response was plain and clear: "You are the Messiah!", they announced. The lens is cleared.
Mark's arrangement of the episodes is strategic. It is a turning point in the Gospel, the moment when what had been implicit or hidden was suddenly brought into the open. Underneath is a profound truth. Jesus the Messiah doesn't cloud issues or obscure truth. He exposes them and brings them to light. He is the Truth. The lens through which we must view all things is through Him. No one can come to the Father except through Him.
Truth is a hard thing. Someone has said the truth hurts because it is always the truth. It is made more difficult today because our secular culture so fears it and therefore hides it behind layers of near truth, what we call these days shades of gray. This color blindness, however, predates our shading preferences and allergic reactions to truth. In Jesus' day it was a lens problem. You see, sinful humans can only comprehend truth when viewed through the correct lens. Everything else is just blurred.
Try as I might, clarity is hard. My vote in the congressional election next week may be a good example. These are two good candidates, both fiscal conservatives, both of the political stripe that most South Carolinians would applaud. But, suddenly, truth interrupts and the hues are viewed with greater intensity. They both have a past. You know, a record on which they might run, or, as the case may be, ignore. It's the black and white of that past that raises character issues with me. There's not much gray area here.
OK, I have a past also, and so do you. Mine is as colored and ugly as the next guy. Yes, each of us can learn from our past and move beyond it with the right heart and direction, lessons learned in the crucible of bad decisions and mistakes. Even so, we must live with the consequences of our past, whatever they are. What is more, the restoration that we pray will attend a bad past may involve re-earning the trust and respect of people injured by our mistakes.
That's the gray area we've created in this election. We must forgive Mark Sanford for his indiscretions while serving as our Governor. The lens through which we view his past actions requires that we extend grace and compassion to him. My Christian worldview wants to embrace him as a brother and celebrate his restoration to his precious standing. The clear vision of it though is that he has not earned my trust or respect. He asks for it without providing evidence of a renewed trustworthyness. Now, I'm usually a trusting sort. But, a seat in the United States Congress seems a little much at this stage.
So, I'll vote for Curtis Bostic next Tuesday. The lens through which I see his past doesn't require shading. Well, I mean beyond the usual jokes about his being a lawyer. There's a distinct, clear vision of fidelity, faithfulness, commitment, integrity, honesty, forthrightness, and all the other character attributes that I pray daily to see in Washington.
Next Tuesday, I throwing in with Curtis Bostic. There's less gray area to deal with.