Blind spots are places around us in which we lack awareness, vision or sight. One of the most common blind spots we face every day is the right back corner of our vision we encounter while driving our cars. It’s where the cars around us can’t be seen in our rear view and side mirrors, making it easy to collide with them if we decide to turn right without turning our head to see directly. Too many times, I’ve swerved into the path of a car I didn’t know was there due to my lack of awareness.
Recently I saw an old friend I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. It was great to see him but as soon as I approached him to give him a hug, I was surprised by his strong body odor. As I spent the next 2 days with him, he had obviously not practiced personal hygiene in the day or so previous, nor while at a retreat together. Apparently, he was oblivious to the offensive smell he was giving off or he would have done something about it. I didn’t have the courage to tell him about it and neither did anyone else.
Even though the nose is the closest body part to one’s mouth and is designed to detect and distinguish odors, it is often unaware of the foul odor the mouth can produce. The one with bad breath is often the last to know they have bad breath. Often I eaten a salad and later carried on a conversation, just to realize later I had a big green piece of lettuce stuck between my teeth and didn’t know it until I looked in a mirror. Even worse, how many times have I spoken to those around me with condescending and harsh words and tones that were offensive and disrespectful and didn’t realize it? How many people have avoided being around me when my communications became so full of criticisms and negativity that it was unpleasant to be in my presence?
Although it can be embarrassing when someone reminds me of my bad breath or food in my teeth, I am grateful for the reminder because I wouldn’t have known it without their help. A great way I have discovered to uncover blind spots is to empower those who are closest to me to point out areas where I lack awareness. Years ago, I asked my wife to be an extra set of eyes for me so she could help me become aware of unnoticed issues and behaviors I exhibited. I even empowered her to be prompt and direct in pointing out any inappropriate actions she might observe in my relations to other women. I thank God for her loving but firm input into my life because through this, I have become a better person than I would be without it.
Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” The natural state of man is to not be aware of truths about oneself that are so apparent to those who are closest. Without input from others, providing sight and light into our personal areas of darkness, we easily drift into self-deception. Unfortunately, pride can often cause us to shield ourselves from even loving criticism, since no one enjoys having their shortcomings pointed out to them. However, it is better to humbly face the areas in which I need to improve than to later find out I am the last to know what those areas are.
King David wrote about his blind spots in Psalms 19:12-13 when he said, “Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful, sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Another time in Psalms 139:23-24 he says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.”
Like King David, ask God to search your heart and discover any hidden faults or errors in your life. Ask Him to reveal the hidden traps and holes into which you could easily fall without his illumination. Empower those who love you to have constructive input into your life so you can grow, advance and upgrade in a new season of your life. The benefits are well worth the temporary pricks of embarrassment, especially knowing that everyone has shortcomings and blind spots.