Seeing Our Eyes
"Everyone did what was right in their own eyes." This is the lament of the book of Judges. The people did the things that they thought were right, for them.
"So? Who doesn't do that? What else are we supposed to do? The things that we think are wrong?" The book of Judges suggests that this philosophy, as natural as it is, might not work out for us. Consider Samson.
Interestingly, most of the references to "eyes" in the book of Judges refer to Samson's eyes. Twice it says that he did what is right in his own eyes. He is the typical-Israelite. He is, then, a typical human. Also, remember: Samson's eyes are burned out of his head. We can do what is right in our eyes, but... Perhaps we should try something else. Perhaps we should take a look at our eyes. Before we end up like Samson.
We need a mirror.
We have a mirror: James compares God's Word to a mirror. (Jam 1:23) A mirror that helps us see ourselves, our tendencies, our pitfalls. God's Word helps us see what living-by-our-own-eyes results in. Our eyes are flawed. What seems right to us does not take us where we want to go. (Prov 14:12)
Problem: I can only see Scripture with... my eyes! How then can I keep from reading Scripture in ways that validate my behaviors, ways that are critical of others, or ways that ignore glaring problems in my life?
Here we benefit from something that Samson never opened himself up to: the congregation of God's people. Consider what the author of Hebrews writes: "exhort one another every day...that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb 3:13)
Who is deceived by sin? By my sin, I am. By yours, you are. And this deceit can become a carapace, hardened around our hearts, hardening us against God's grace in Scripture. What can be done? Open up to mutual "exhortation."
There's a glaring omission in Samson's life: true friends. He's either fighting people or being set up by people. No one seems to love him. No one sits him down and encourages him. Of course, it's the era of the Judges--a most tumultuous time. So maybe Samson's solitude was understandable.
How about yours and mine? Confession: I don't think I've ever gotten "constructive criticism" with which I didn't find fault. Let me say that again: I always find something I dislike about any criticism I've ever gotten. They didn't do it at the right time, in the right way, about the right thing, with the right, kind-hearted, glint in their eye.
It's easy, then, to back away into my corner. No one understands me. No one cares for me well enough for me to trust their advice. No one can help me. I see things the best. I see clearly. I know. I trust me.
Silly. Samson, listen: you do what's right in your own eyes, you end up blind.
Love the light of the Word, cobwebs and stains though it may reveal. Love the friendship of believers willing to try to use Scripture to help direct, and redirect, your path. Love true sight. Love to see. Borrow better eyes. Receive the Light God wants to shine on you, through Jesus, in Scripture, by the help of your pals and buds and chums.