Friday, August 27, 2010

Not Seeing Spots ~ R.C. Sproul, Jr.

I love opening up my email to read yet another "Kingdom Note" or "Ask R.C." from Highlands Ministries. Here's today's Note that is well worth our perusal:

"Saint Augustine took the view that the marital act was at best a necessary evil. Having both lived a rather licentious life as a youth and having bought into Manicheaism before his conversion puts the error in perspective. He was virtually both a recovering sex addict and a recovering gnostic. On the other hand, considering the prodigious intellect and fine character of the man, one has to wonder how he missed this. Augustine was certainly the finest theologian of the first 1000 years of the church, and may still hold that title. But he erred. He had a blind spot that is rather obvious for the rest of us to see.

Which ought not, of course, encourage us to think we’re up one on Augustine. It ought instead to cause us to consider our own blind spots. If someone with Augustine’s keen mind and warm heart could miss something, how much must I miss who is so dull and cold?

I was once engaged in friendly debate with a co-worker. She, growing frustrated with me, complained, “You always think you’re right.” She paused for a moment when I explained, “Of course I always think I’m right. So do you, think you’re always right. But I don’t think I’m right always.” All of us, when asked about this or that, always agree with us, which is another way of saying we always think we are right. All of us, however, know we are fallible, and thus we don’t think we are right always. The trouble is I believe a, and b and c, all the way down to z. But I know I must be wrong somewhere. If I knew where, then it would be easy. That’s the problem with blind spots- they are invisible to us.

Herein lies one of the blessings of friends we can trust. Too many of us, present company serving perhaps as the worst offender, pick and choose our friends precisely on the basis of their having the same blind spots we have. That is, thinking ourselves fine fellows because we believe a and b all the way to z, we naturally think that others who agree with our wisdom are the very best kinds of friends to have. Jesus told us what ends up happening here- the blind lead the blind and there’s danger up ahead. Friends we can trust, however, have far more to do with their character than their ideological test scores.

Years ago I was asked in a public setting how it was that Doug Phillips, a known non-baptizer of babies, and I, a notorious sprinkler of little ones, could be close friends. For my part the answer was easy. I respect Doug Phillips. I admire him. That, and not ideological similarities (though of course these are many, despite our obvious differences) is what makes for a good friend. Doug has, on at least one important occasion, kindly and graciously pointed out a blind spot I had been guilty of in dealing with a tricky pastoral situation. It was glorious. He spoke to me clearly but gently, and my eyes were open. Happily my bad counsel didn’t ruin the pastoral situation, and it all worked out in the end.

Do you know people that you respect, and disagree with? Make it a point to become friends. When you find yourself in disagreement with others, look first for the opportunity to have your blind spots exposed, before worrying about the blind spot, or speck, blocking your brother’s view. When you have received your sight, don’t forget to thank your friend, and He who is a friend to sinners like us."

Wonderful words of wisdom from a humble man of God.


Anonymous said...

Thank you - great reminder of the need for godly exhortation from others of our many blind spots. May you press on in faith today!

The Boyds said...

You're quite welcome, & I agree! And thank you for your encouraging words.