The Blind Leading the Blind, by Christine Hides
He also told them a parable “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Luke 6:39–40
Reflection: I once read Crashing Through the biography of a man whose sight was surgically restored decades after a childhood accident limited his vision to vague shadows. Before his surgery he excelled at Blind Speed Skiing. The first time he returned to the slopes, he stopped mid-run, frightened, demanding his guide to do a better job of pointing out the deep pits he could now see. The pits turned out to be shadows. Seeing requires more than just our eyes. Our brains filter enormous amounts of visual data determining what is threatening (a chasm) and what can be ignored (shadows).
Our familiar understanding of “the blind leading the blind” deserves a second look. This parable follows some pretty clear directives from Jesus: do not judge or you will be judged. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and you will receive. In this case the parable is likely offered not because the disciples don’t understand Jesus, but because these commands make them (and us) uncomfortable. We think we know better than the teacher. The parable first clouds and then clears our perception to point our focus toward what is truly harmful to us and to our neighbors.
Merciful God, our Teacher and Guide,
Help us to see a path to forgiveness,
To accept one another without judgment,
To give generously as we have been given,
As we seek to follow you.