Blindspots

Simon LawtonInspiration2 Comments

Have you ever been driving and not seen someone and nearly hit them!? I was driving on the motorway in England a couple of years ago and having checked my mirrors I began to slowly pull out into the overtaking lane only to hear the urgent and loud horn of the guy who was already in that lane! Where did he come from? How couldn’t I have seen him? He was in my blindspot.

Just recently I was driving through the beautiful Northumberland countryside heading for a day’s prayer retreat when I found myself behind a lorry that had a large sign on it stating: If you can’t see my mirrors then I can’t see you!’ Every vehicle has blind spots and it’s true of our lives as well.

I WONDER WHAT YOUR BLIND SPOT IS?

I asked my wife Julia what she thought mine were and she helpfully suggested ‘dust’ and ‘garden weeds!’ Very insightful Jules!

Recently I have been reading the story of Saul’s life. Israel’s first King is often maligned and looked down on but he was a great warrior for Israel (1 Samuel 14:47-48). He was handsome, tall, humble and more importantly chosen and anointed by God. Saul had the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon his life. He prophesied with the prophets and the power of God was clearly with him – but he still had blind spots! Everyone has them. I have them and you have them!

WHAT IS A BLIND SPOT?

Most of us are aware of our strengths and weaknesses. In fact weaknesses’ are aspects of our lives that we can intentionally strengthen with practice, time, or desire. Blind spots, however, are personal traits, characteristics, attitudes and behaviour’s that we don’t even know about that may limit the way we act, react, behave or believe, and therefore limit our effectiveness and will eventually create problems, difficulties and incidents.

Self-awareness is therefore a crucial key to success and happiness. Without self-awareness, we will move through our lives, relationships and experiences disconnected and unaware of how others receive and perceive us, and unable to take full responsibility for the results.

Ever since I nearly collided with the driver on the motorway I have glanced over my shoulder to double check if someone has been in my blind spot. Becoming aware of my blind spot has changed the way I drive. I hope that I am a better, safer, driver.

COMMON BLIND SPOTS

Let’s examine some of Saul’s blind spots:

Jealousy

Saul was jealous of David’s popularity, his victories and his relationship with Jonathan. In fact Samuel records:

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang: Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. They have credited David with tens of thousands,he thought, but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. (1 Samuel 18:6-9)

Jealously led to anger and resentment and in some respects an obsession with David resulting in several attempts on David’s life and Saul chasing him around the countryside!

Jealousy is a blind spot that is easy to fall into. So can I encourage you not to compare yourself to others? Celebrate and rejoice that they are so blessed and that God is granting them wonderful favour and success. Make sure you walk your own path. Be yourself. Enjoy your journey! Be the best you! But never compare yourself to others.

Pride

After defeating the Amalakites….

Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honour and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”” (1 Samuel 15:12)

In fact it was a monument to his own disobedience! Paul advises us:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3)

The blind spot for some is thinking that they are better than they are. If you don’t believe that happens watch X Factor! Consider yourself with sober judgement. Pride manifests in all kinds of ways including perfectionism, control, making sure you look good all the time, boasting, criticising, looking down on others and putting them down.

Pride comes from insecurity and often leads to over confidence and sadly often comes before a fall! Don’t allow pride to become a blind spot. Instead choose to walk the path of humility before God.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

Disobedience

Saul didn’t fully obey God’s command to completely destroy the Amalakites and King Agag. Samuel records that,

Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.” (1 Samuel 15:7-9)

Saul had all kinds of excuses and reasons for failing to obey God when Samuel challenged his disobedience. Like Saul we can be tempted to rationalise our disobedience and sin. We legitimise it. We say it doesn’t matter because of this circumstance or that. It can become a blind spot. I wonder….

What disobedience or sin have you legitimised, rationalised or excused as being ok?

Impulsiveness

Saul, great leader that he was, also was incredibly impulsive! He didn’t wait to even consider the consequences of his decisions.

Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!So none of the troops tasted food. (1 Samuel 14:24)

His impulsiveness caused him to make bad decisions! Imagine sending an army out who have not had their full English breakfast!! Worse still his son Jonathan who wasn’t there when the oath was made and who had been attacking a Philistine outpost came back and ate some honey and Saul said:

Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what you have done.So Jonathan told him, I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!Saul said, May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”” (1 Samuel 14:43-44)

Thankfully Saul’s men pleaded for Jonathan’s life and Saul changed his mind. There are several examples of Saul’s impulsiveness in the narrative. Could impulsiveness be your blind spot?

  • Do you rush into things and regret it later?
  • Do you spend money without thinking?
  • Do you start a new relationship without praying?
  • Have you left a job without considering the consequences?

Perhaps you should slow down, talk to God, seek wise counsel…..

Ultimately Saul’s impulsiveness, in failing to wait for Samuel (priest) to return he offered a sacrifice himself. It cost him the kingship. Don’t allow impulsiveness to be a blind spot.

Saul didn’t really trust God

On the surface Saul appeared to trust God. He prophesied, he led Israel and people followed and he had some great victories. In fact to everyone else – it looked like he trusted God – but he didn’t really.

He was always in a hurry. Always impatient. He thought that he knew best.

He gave the impression that he trusted God but really he trusted his own judgement rather than choosing to slow down and seek God. This is a temptation for anyone who has been following God for a long while. Care is needed. So you say you really trust God…

How is that reflected in your choices? Your decisions and decision making? How you live?

I’ve written a book based on Proverbs 3:5-6, that will encourage you to really trust God. You can check it out here.

Imagine how your life would change if you really trusted God….

Prejudice

Saul’s perception of David was totally wrong. His jealously and fear of David’s growing influence and successes made him see David as a threat. Yet Saul could not have had a more loyal soldier and leader! David had the opportunity to kill Saul at least twice and yet he refused to lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.

We are so quick to judge people at times;

She doesn’t have a university degree – can’t be all that bright”; he’s a politician – he’s probably lying to us”.

Let’s face it – we all have some prejudices, hidden or overt. We can be so quick to assume what other people’s motives, intentions and agenda are. I was challenged this week when I read this phrase from John Maxwell:

‘It is easy for us to be insensitive to our behaviour towards others – especially when we judge people not by their intentions but by their actions.’

How many of us have done that?! Is prejudice a blind spot for you? Do you need to see people how God sees them? Is there anyone you need to see differently? Is there someone who you need to begin to trust again who didn’t deserve to lose your trust in the first place?

Criticism

Do you find yourself reacting defensively or regularly responding like this:

‘Yes, but it’s not my fault’

‘Yes, but I didn’t know’

‘Yes, but I had no choice’

Saul had every excuse when Samuel challenged his failure to destroy the Amalekites:

When Samuel reached him, Saul said, The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lords instructions.But Samuel said, What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?Saul answered, The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”” (1 Samuel 15:13-15)

““But I did obey the Lord,Saul said. I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”” (1 Samuel 15:20-21)

Saul refused to receive the criticism and blamed everyone else for his poor choices and disobedience. Perhaps you immediately get offended when someone dares to suggest you might have made a mistake or be at fault or could have done something differently?

Perhaps, like Saul, you’re one of those people who always claims it’s someone else’s fault! When was the last time you admitted that you’d made a mistake to your boss or your team? Try it sometime – people will initially be shocked BUT – you will win lots of friends.

I’ve learned that in almost every piece of criticism there is either an element of truth or something I can learn from! Criticism delivered constructively and in love is healthy. We should try and embrace it. If we don’t it becomes a blind spot. If you’re a leader – welcome feedback, constructive ideas and feedback. It’s really good for you and your team!

Offence

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang: Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. They have credited David with tens of thousands,he thought, but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. (1 Samuel 18:6-9)

Saul was offended. He must have been thinking, ‘I’m the King! I’ve rescued and lead Israel. I’ve killed thousands too!’

The sin of offence can be a blind spot! Some people are so easily offended. Everything and everyone causes offence! And then when they are offended they offend others with their offence.

Are you easily offended? Perhaps it’s a blind spot. Maybe something to talk to God about…

PERSONAL STRENGTHS CAN BE BLIND SPOTS…

Some of our greatest strengths can also be potential blind spots:

  • If you’re a really confident person you can become over confident!
  • If you’re really caring and pastoral it can be hard to bring much needed discipline
  • If you’re a great thinker and analyst you can find it hard to make decisions
  • If you’re pretty relaxed you will be a wonderful person to chill with but will probably be a nightmare to work with!
  • If you have the ‘gift of the gab’ you will be able to persuade people to do the right things but you will also be able to persuade people to do wrong things.

HOW TO DEAL WITH BLIND SPOTS

‘We all have strengths, weaknesses and blind spots. In fact, an average person has 3.4 blind spots.’ (Bill Hybels)

We all have blind spots in our attitudes, behaviours and ways of being. The problem is they become invisible to us. We become set in our ways.

However blind spots are a wonderful opportunity for growth and improvement.

Thank God for His grace – and His grace to help us be better versions of ourselves. I’m sure we all want that.

How do we deal with them?

  • Ask God to show you what your blind spots are?
  • Ask someone who loves you and who you trust to help you identify your blind spots.
  • Ask them how they perceive you – you might be surprised!
  • Ask if you can be accountable to them and when they notice you slipping back into old ways they let you know. Ask them to pray for you.
  • Ask God for the strength, power and self-discipline to eradicate every blind spot

Remembering this….

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ 

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments on “Blindspots”

  1. Thanks Simon, painful but necessary … I was reading John 15 today…. v.2 He cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be more fruitful. I’d better check my blind spot..’s!! God bless you and hello to Julia.

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