The Importance of Seeing What’s in Front of Us

“…predict the weather…”

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“Hypocrites! You can look at the earth and the sky and predict the weather; why, then, don’t you know the meaning of this present time?”  (Luke 12:56)

Sometimes I feel sorry for the weather prognosticators.  Not fifteen minutes before I took this picture last week of a farm in northern Illinois near Chicago Patti and I watched a ferocious snowstorm viciously whip across the seemingly endless level cornfields.  Then, “presto,” clear skies and a gorgeous moon!  I can’t imagine what the weather forecasters were saying about all of that.  You know the joke, “If you really want to know what the weather’s going to be you better stick your head outside and look!”  In this case that would have been the most accurate way to “predict” what we experienced.  However, the truth is the weather forecasters have very sophisticated instruments, models, etc. that do allow them to make some amazingly accurate weather predictions from what they see.  When they look at their data they are often able to give us a very good picture of what will happen weather-wise so we can adjust our lives accordingly.

In this scripture passage from the Gospel of Luke Jesus was confronting the people because they could look at physical signs around them and make accurate predictions of the weather, but they refused to see what was right in front of them – God’s amazing love for them at work in the person of Jesus.  Unfortunately we are capable of choosing what we “see” and “don’t see,” even if it’s right in front of us.  Sometimes we choose not to see because we’re so startled by what’s in front of us that we’re not sure we can really “believe our eyes.”  It can be so difficult to make it fit into our concept of reality that we finally choose to say to ourselves and others, “I must have been mistaken.  Surely I didn’t really see what I thought I saw.”  “I know this person,” we tell ourselves, and the person I know would never do what I think I just saw.  Surely what the other person said they “saw” or what I thought I “saw” was impossible.”  Because we can’t make what we “see” make sense with what we think we know we decide we really didn’t see what we saw.  Maybe we decide not to see because we’re afraid of the consequences of seeing.  If we admit we see something then it might force us to have to act upon what we see and that might turn our lives and the lives of others upside down.  Maybe we’re not sure we can risk the ramifications of “seeing.”  Not admitting what we “see” can have dire and dangerous consequences.

I write this as the Penn State scandal continues to unfold.  I do not presume to know whether the alleged perpetrator is guilty or innocent of the heinous crimes he is accused of having committed.  However, I do know from many years of listening to the terrifying stories of sexual abuse victims that in many cases the victim knew that folks in their lives “saw” what was happening to them but chose not to “see.”  The consequences of others not “seeing” (and thus acting) resulted in even more pain and suffering.  In the Gospel of Luke Jesus is confronting the people because he knows they can “see” the power of God at work in Him, but yet, they refuse to acknowledge what they see.  They’re chosen blindness will have consequences.

We must have the courage and faith to acknowledge what we see.  I know there are times when we can be mistaken.  However, I think in our culture today we err too often on the side of not acknowledging what we see because of the reasons I’ve named and more.  If it comes to the safety of a child or adult we need to check out what we “see” and let others help us decide whether or not we saw what we thought we saw.  Choosing not to see what we saw without checking it further can have dire and dangerous consequences.

I pray that God will give me the courage and faith to see.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit www.survivingteendepression.com.

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on November 16, 2011.

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