I counsel you to buy from me ... salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Revelation 3:18
The poet, Robert Burns, sitting one day in church, saw a louse climbing up the back of a lady's bonnet. The lady was unaware of the louse's presence. In a subsequent piece of verse Burns apostrophized the louse in good round Scottish dialect, berating it for its impudent intrusion on `sae fine a lady'. Then, mindful of the lady's unawareness, he concluded:
O wad som Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n Devotion!
That lowly but ambitious louse -- that ridiculous Pediculus -- has long since gone its way. But the poet's thought remains. Unfortunately the gift `to see oursels as others see us' is one that few of us naturally possess. One reason for this is perhaps essentially practical: unless I have eyes in the back of my neck, I cannot easily see the louse on the back of my bonnet. And I may be reluctant to look in the mirror. The louse, however, will be there just the same.
Reluctance to look in the mirror of truth, or to remember what we see there, is a tragic form of voluntary blindness. God holds up the mirror of his Word to us, so that we may see our blemishes and come to him to get them put right. It is foolish then to be voluntarily blind, like the person who `observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he is like' (Jas 1:24). We are then in the pathetic state of the lukewarm church at Laodicea, which did not know that it was `wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked' (Rev 3:17).
God loves his people too much to want us to be like that and offers a remedy, a salve to put on our spiritual eyes so that we may see, and so know what is wrong with us. He can then deal with it firmly but in love. We are only fooling ourselves if we think that he will ignore it. Beware the louse on the back of your bonnet. Whether or not others see it, God does.
Deliver me, Lord, from blindness of heart, and so quicken
my conscience that I may see myself as you see me.
Further reading: Jas 1:22-25. Rev 3:14-22.