I Was Blind and Now I See

I WAS BLIND AND NOW I SEE

Last weekend, I saw the movie, “The Blind Side.”  In a nutshell, the movie is a Hollywood version of the story of Michael Oher’s journey from being a homeless teenager to an NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens.   Out of the Christian kindness of their hearts, the Tuohy family took in Michael. They accepted him and eventually adopted him as their own.  It’s a wonderful movie … see it!

Early on in the movie, prior to the adoption, I nearly jumped out of my seat with joy in the scene when Leigh Anne (played by Sandra Bullock) was out to lunch with her girl friends. One of the friends said, “You’re changing that boy’s life.”  Leigh Anne replied, “No, he’s changing my life.”

“That,” I said to myself, “is the essence of mission, the essence of Christian compassion.” 

You see, too often we think of mission as writing a check or lending a hand and that’s it.  Too often we think of compassion as being nice and offering sympathy.  But in either case, we haven’t really engaged ourselves in a relationship; we are blind and don’t see the people; we haven’t really offered our hearts.  We are left unchanged.

Leigh Anne and the other members of the Tuohy family didn’t just offer a bed and some food to Michael. They realized that he needed a whole lot more than a b & b. They offered themselves and their hearts. He was transformed; and ultimately they were transformed.  That’s what happens in mission. That’s what happens when compassion is real.  We build relationships, and when we build relationships, we can’t help but to be changed too … changed for the better.

When Jesus came to earth to save us, he didn’t just write a check or offer a prescription for us to follow.  He offered himself … on the cross.  He died and rose (what a transformation!), and thus we are saved (another transformation!).  In the words of Paul, Jesus “emptied himself.”  (Philippians 2:7)  Paul challenges us to “be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” (Philippians 2:2)  What would it look like for each of us to enter every interaction with every person in a way that is full of compassion?

Mother Theresa had an answer to that question.  Mother Theresa often encouraged her people to love “just one” – just the one person with whom you are interacting right now.  Concentrating on loving just the one person you are with is how it works.  Can you do that today?  As love changes persons, pretty soon, together we are changing the world.

12.03.09