“Like Plato’s cave-dwellers, we think we are well-informed, and when we encounter light, we feel the pain of brightness in our maladapted eyes. We turn back to the darkness we’re so comfortable with,” wrote Chris Tiegreen, author of The One Year at His Feet Devotional. In this statement, Chris is describing the tragic condition of people in Plato’s allegory who lived in a cave with limited lighting for so long they saw people as shadows. To them, people were supposed to look like shadows—that was the norm.
Is that not the way it is with many cultures in our world today? Millions of people are living under man-made laws, ideals, and doctrines that are heralded as truth and taught to the next generation; yet all the while, they are dwelling in darkness. Because human beings function best in comfort zones, people sometimes stay in situations that are degrading and even harmful—but comfortable. Change always requires light; change always requires courage.
I yearn to know the heart of God and to see the world through His eyes, yet the smallness of my vision concerns me. I seriously doubt that I see what Jesus saw when He walked among us. Could it be that I am looking at the world through blinders—those cup-shaped pieces of leather placed over the eyes of a horse so he can see only what is right in front of him, eliminating any peripheral vision whatsoever? Do I consider myself to be well-informed, or is it possible that I have a narrow-minded view of the world because of blinders? Whether inherited or of my own doing, I find it difficult to acknowledge them and call them by name—pride, prejudice, ignorance, self-interest, and fear, to name a few. But if I am ever going to see the world as God sees it, I believe these blinders will have to be removed.
When I turn off all the rhetoric in my mind—the political arguments of the day, social issues that clamor to be the main focus, and human reasoning that seems so logical—I have a better chance of seeing the world from God’s perspective. Believe it or not, God is not out to conquer nations, or governments, or armies, or land; but rather He is pursuing the hearts of individual men and women throughout the world. God is not worried over the enrichment of uranium by hostile regimes, or the training of terrorists, or organized religions which trap people in false beliefs. These things do not frighten or intimidate God. He can and will conquer them all in the end. But God is greatly concerned over the souls of men, women, and children who are dwelling in darkness.
Perhaps I need to take a lighting inventory in my own life. Does the light I currently dwell in allow me to see individual people with thoughts and feelings, or do I simply see the masses of humanity as shadows? Has a distorted view become the norm for me? Are my blinders keeping me from truly seeing the suffering of the poor, the pain of the brokenhearted, the plight of the captives, the darkness of the blind, and the anguish of the oppressed—the very people Jesus came to rescue (Luke 4:18)?
I have started praying that my vision will be broadened to see all people in the light that comes from the true Light of the world (John 1:9). Who knows, I might eventually be able see this mixed-up world from God’s perspective. ~Janie Kellogg