Gilland: Considering our blind spots

Young man reading book

Many years ago, I heard a phrase that is both true and very important—which is why it made an indelible mark on my life. 

“We all have blind spots in our lives…and they call them ‘blind spots’ cause we can’t see them.” 

That may sound overly simplistic and even a bit trite. But the truth contained when applied to areas of our lives is no small matter.

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One example of a blind spot in my own life had to do with how I “thought” I understood myself, and how I tended to respond to others’ opinions of me. I was unaware as to the level of importance I had placed on my reputation, or to what degree I was striving to be thought of in a positive light.

It was in 1981. I was an operations manager at a radio station in Indiana, a year before my life was to radically change with a call into ministry. I oversaw the staff that included both programming and sales departments. 

A female colleague in sales had just turned in her notice. In her resignation letter, she made the following terse statement to the general manager: “And Mike…well, he is ‘always’ right…” 

It didn’t take a gift of interpretation to hear and feel the cynicism contained in her assessment. And while it stung like a bee, it later proved to be part of the process of having my eyes open to just how proud I really was.

This set off a process of soul searching that went on over the next couple of years. Sadly, I didn’t perceive everything about this lesson in my life as quickly as I should have. 

Then, I acquired a book by Andrew Murray entitled “Humility.” That small book, written by Murray in 1884, was an eye-opening experience. In fact, it was downright hard for me to read, as it seemed that at every other paragraph, I would lower the book and say, “Wow,” and try to digest what I had just read.

One of the key points of help came from a section wherein Murray was describing how detrimental our love for reputation can be. He said we should see an experience of not receiving the credit for a project, or being overlooked as a good thing in our lives. Why? Because it puts to death something in your heart that is an idol. 

He encouraged his readers to pray for and welcome such moments, because they help us grow in the right ways.

It is easy to think we’re humble—even when we are not. It is in the middle of such an event as being forgotten or not being honored that our true state of heart is revealed. 

Ironically, it is only true humility that opens the door to that which we seek. Proverbs 22:4 says this: “The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.”

Murray’s book has helped countless readers to have their “blind spots” revealed, allowing them to see more clearly whether they have true humility. I am grateful for the way it helped me.

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