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Daily Archives: January 10, 2019

CATARACTS! (YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET OLD TO HAVE THEM!)

cataract

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6: 22-23)

Last month I had cataract surgery on my right eye, which was worse than the left one.  One day I’ll have the other eye done. for I kinda sorta need to see! With cataracts, night driving is challenging because lights are blinding.  Color perception is impaired.  (Please let me know if you see me wearing weird color combinations together.)  The color of the blouse has not changed; my perception of it is off. A person with cataracts just doesn’t see as vividly or as accurately.

I was reading this scripture in Matthew, and I started thinking about the concept of spiritual and emotional cataracts.  Your vision can be clouded and distorted by any number of factors.  You can be looking right at someone or something, “seeing it clearly,” but perceiving it all wrong because of various filters. Here are a few of them.

  1. Beliefs. Whatever you currently believe, you’re likely to see.  The evidence supporting your position leaps off the page or the screen, while you choose to ignore or discount all to the contrary.  You actively seek to confirm what you believe.  (Note which cable stations you choose to watch.)
  2. Old scars. When you have been hurt or traumatized in the past, you may become hypersensitive to anything that in any way reminds you of your previous experiences.  A molehill can quickly become a mountain.
  3. Fear.  Similarly, people perceive in the direction of their fears. You’re wired for survival when you believe there’s a threat.  The body prepares for fight or flight by becoming  aroused.  You scan the environment carefully on intense look-out for danger.  We “jump,” emotionally or physically, at the slightest provocation, even when objectively safe. Anxiety impairs your ability to perceive correctly.
  4. Bitterness.  O’boy, is this one a vision distorter!  It’s like putting on glasses with an angry tint.  Everything is seen through the lens of hostility, paranoia, and bitterness.  Have you been around a bitter person?  You can say the least little thing with the best of intentions, and that individual will be off and running with negative assumptions.
  5. Low self-worth.  When you fail to recognize your value, when you constantly compare yourself to others, and when you have believed and digested the negative words spoken over you by others – a “cataract” of low self-worth can cloud your vision.  You believe you can read the minds of others, thinking that they think negatively about you.  You hear yourself in conversations with others through an insecure filter that assumes you sound stupid – or you avoid people because you fear that occurring..  You size up a situation, and your view is, you could never succeed there.

I heard a story about a lady who went to her doctor, complaining that she was hurting all over.  He said, “Show me where it hurts.”  She touched her shoulder, then leg, then stomach, then neck – and each time, she yelled, “Ouch!”  The doc examined her closely, then concluded, “Ma’am, you have a broken index finger.”

Whether it’s eyes or fingers, when your “perceiver” is off, your perceptions will be off.  If you have particular feelings often when you’re out there in the world, you may have a perceptual bias caused by personal “cataracts,” dimming or distorting your view  Rather than assuming everyone else has the problem, even if that looks as plain as day to you, entertain the possibility that your vision may be out of whack! Remember…

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6: 22-23)

God, please give me clear vision!  I want to see others as You see them.  I don’t want my past experiences or current emotions to cause me to misperceive a person or situation.  Cure me, Lord, of the tyranny of first impressions.  I want to choose to hold my interpretations lightly, recognizing that my perceptions are fallible.  Show me truth through eyes completely open to Your instruction, my God.

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