Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our Blind Spots

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Proverbs 9:8

His landlady told me that Glen was in the backyard somewhere, so I walked down the gravel driveway where I found him sitting on the steps of the sun porch. Next to him on the steps was an upturned box lid containing a number of the metal belt buckles he favored and an open can of Brasso.

He dipped one of the belt buckles into a container of water to rinse it and was carefully wiping it with an old dish towel when he must have heard my steps on the gravel.

He looked up at me with a rather sheepish smile. "Well, you caught me spiffing up, didn't you?" he said. "You know I used to get so tired of doing this when I had to, but now that I don't have to any more, I actually enjoy it."

I noticed there were both brass and silver colored buckles.

He said, "The white ones are steel of some kind and, of course, the yellow ones are brass, or brass plated. You know me, I could care less about appearances, and I’m no fashion guy. But Sue saw me wearing khaki trousers with one of these." He held up a silver buckle. "And she told me I should always wear brass buckles with khaki and silver buckles with black trousers."

I couldn't help kidding him a little about letting Sue nag him.

Glen shook it off. "Oh, maybe she does, a little, but I don't mind. I figure she knows about clothes and things like that, so I take her advice. I figure everybody knows some things we don't, and we should listen to them and learn from what they know. No matter how much we think we know, we all have our blind spots in some areas."

He pointed to his van parked in the driveway. "See that dent in the middle of the back bumper? I was backing up one day and the rear windows were fogged up. I checked both my side mirrors and slowly backed up. All of a sudden I felt this big thud and I had backed into a light pole. I bet I've seen a dozen of these vans with that same dent! There's a place you just can't see on this model.

"No real harm done, just to my pride. But it taught me a lesson. It is the same with our minds."

Glen continued. "We think we know stuff and we don't sometimes. Just like these buckles, same as that bumper. We all have blind spots."

"Do you have blind spots, Glen?”

"Oh, yeah!" he said with emphasis. "I mean in my personality. Joy says I'm too harsh with people. Sue gets me on my appearance. She says I look kind of rumpled all the time. I figure they're both right.

"But you know what really bothers me? It's the blind spots in my Bible interpretation--my teaching. I worry about that all the time. There are truly great teachers and authors. They can be straight as an arrow 95 percent of the time. Then they will say something you just can't believe they're saying.

"Take McGee, I really love that guy. To me he's the best. Down to earth, original, and has scholarship too. But when he talks about the doctrine of election he will contradict himself in two consecutive sentences. I hate to hear it.

"John MacArthur is a good interpreter--a good preacher. His annotated Bible is good too. John really respects R.C. Sproul. Actually, they are personal friends. But R.C. interprets the millennial temple in Ezekiel 40 through 48 as entirely spiritual, not literal.

"To me that is hard to believe--that anyone would miss that it is literal. I mean, does a spiritual temple have instructions on priestly garments and hair cutting? All the dimensions are given, even the thickness of the walls. God went into great detail to describe a literal, future temple in eight chapters. John says he has talked to R.C. about this, but R.C. just can't see it.

"My point is, there are really great teachers who still have areas they don't understand, or that they misunderstand. Wouldn't it be great if they would listen when somebody tries to correct them? We all should listen to people who have ideas we disagree with. That's all I'm saying."

By now Glen had finished polishing all the buckles and placed them right side up in the box lid. They gleamed in the sun.

"I pray to God that he will guard me from ever trying to teach about things I don't understand. If I have doubts about a subject, I avoid it."

"By the way," Glen said, "Do you know the definition of a bachelor?"

I shook my head "no".

"Well," said Glen, "A bachelor is a man who has faults he is not aware of."

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