In the gospel according to John, Jesus encounters a blind man. Instead of taking pity on the man for his lack of sight, Jesus gave him countless other gifts that the man could use in his life to improve its quality. Now, you might be thinking “wait a second, is this not Jesus the performer of miracles?” Would it not have been just as easy to take pity on this man and bestow upon him the gift of sight? I think there are two take-aways from this piece of scripture, the first one being that Jesus wanted to show the man that He could empathize with the blind man’s situation. He wanted to show the man that He understood what he was going through. By giving him all these other gifts, Jesus shows the blind man that his life is truly beautiful and that God sometimes intentionally makes people imperfect. Doing this allows people to see the strength in other areas of their life. For example, if you cannot see, then your sense of hearing might be altered; if you cannot walk, your arms will make up the difference.
The second take-away is that it shows us all that sometimes the only thing separating us as people is our ability to tell the difference between sympathy and empathy. I personally connect with this passage for one major reason, and that is because I believe that every person has something to offer this world despite their challenges, and I agree with the idea that sometimes it would be easier to just fix a problem like the example in the passage of Jesus possibly giving this man his sight, but if He did this, the man would have never learned to be self-reliant. This creates a sense of belonging and understanding.
When you are able to get down to the surface level and walk side by side with a person and truly let them know that you understand them, it is an empowering feeling. As opposed to taking pity on a person for what they cannot do. In my opinion, understanding this difference is what divides people from being equal to each other. There are other interpretations of this Bible verse that show Jesus giving this man sight. However my reason for picking the translation from John is because it speaks to me more on a personal level about how diversity of the human race is beautiful, it’s empowering, it creates a sense of community, and more than anything else it should be celebrated for the impact that it has on the world.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that something which was written several centuries ago can still be successfully interpreted and utilized in the 21st century. This simply further illustrates Jesus’ love for us and His desire to find good in all people. This demonstrates the strength of character that we should all strive to live our lives with. All people despite challenges or deficits were created in God’s image. If you truly adopt this mindset you will see that life is beautiful and you will live it the way God intended. Maybe someday you will find the courage to turn around and empathize with somebody in need, just as God has done in this passage.
Jamey Breen, Storyteller