9 March, 2016 40 days of change-Lent, 2016
Self-aware – The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5
Yesterday I used the word blindspot. That is an area that is on the periphery of your line of vision that you can’t easily see. Most of us were first introduced to the word when we started to drive as the area next to you that demands you shoulder check when you change lanes. It is very easy to have blindspots in our character where it is difficult to see the inconsistency between our ethics and our behaviour. What is odd is that we so easily see other people’s inconsistencies. We need to heed Jesus’s warning against seeing the flaws in others, for they are truly mere specks compared to the lumber that is hidden in our blindspot. To be people of integrity we need to be aware of our weaknesses and to do that we need to see into our blindspots. A person can only pursue integrity when they can see their own character in its entirety and with clarity.
It is an ongoing discussion amongst theologians as to how self-aware Jesus was when he was on earth. Did he know he was God? There are signs that some information that would normally fall within the awareness of one who is omniscient, fell outside his realm of knowledge, such as the timing of his second coming. However, as to knowing himself and what he was about, he seemed to be very aware. As a 12 year old, he knew there was a purpose to his life beyond himself. He later described himself as one with the Father –– being in the Father and the Father in him. On the night before he was to die, he had dinner with his disciples. No one was assigned to wash their feet as they entered, so Jesus takes on the task. The gospel writer makes it clear that Jesus does this because he is aware of what he was all about. It is written ‘Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God’. Jesus was completely able to see who he was and lived in accordance with that realisation.
Are we self-aware? Can we see those spots in our life? It is difficult and sometimes it’s too bad we can’t have an out of body experience just so we might see our self more clearly. I don’t recommend the pursuit of that, but an easier alternative might be to ask a friend to help you see those hard-to-see spots. It is almost like asking them to be your side mirror to see the area of your life your peripheral vision doesn’t reach. But just like there comes a time when you need to trust your mirrors, you need to trust your friends. You know you are going to be flawed, and if you start with that principle, it is easier to hear them out when they break it to you gently. Ask a friend today to give some thought for a day or two and then tell you (or if you are too nervous to hear it spoken, email you) one thing you do that is inconsistent with your perceived ethics. When it is revealed, don’t shut your eyes by being defensiveness. Moving it from your blindspot to your vision is the first step toward becoming self-aware and real change.