As [Jesus] walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. John 9:1
The gospel reading for this coming Sunday, John 9:1-41, is about Jesus healing a blind man. Everyone knew this man as the man blind from birth. The disciples. His neighbors. The Pharisees. And Jesus.
Once the man’s sight has been restored, his identity is questioned. Was he, in fact, the man who was born blind, the one who’d never been able to see a thing up until now? If he’s not the man born blind, then who is he? Furthermore, who is the man Jesus who healed him?
Jesus sees this man and knows the stigma of being born blind carries. In healing him, the man not only sees again, but “sees” who Jesus is. He believes!
We all carry identities given to us at birth or by virtue of our gender, gender orientation or identity, race, relationship or socioeconomic status, citizenship, language, education, religion, physical and cognitive abilities, or family of origin.
We make assumptions based on societal hearsay or what political pundits or talking heads tell us to think. We might take one negative encounter and make up our minds about a person. Those assumptions may stick until we hear that person’s story or get to know the person better.
May we see each person, first, through the lens of Christ and the cross, as a beloved child of God through whom God is working through his, her or their life, too.
And if you’re carrying the weight of an identity of shame, blame or inadequacy that you just can’t shake, let’s talk.
In the meantime, close your eyes, and imagine Christ touching your eyes and your heart, restoring your identity so that you may see yourself and others through God’s eyes of grace, love and forgiveness.