And his disciples put a question to him, saying, Master, was it because of this man’s sin, or the sin of his father and mother, that he has been blind from birth?John 9:2
The story is told that Jesus healed a man that was blind from birth. This story revealed a lot about the nature of man: we need a reason for something bad to happen, and the reason has to be connected to guilt, justice, and punishment. We know that life is not just, but we assume fairness anyhow.
The story can be understood on multiple levels, and we can learn from any of those levels.
On a surface level, this story tells us that Jesus healed. We can learn that he probably reconstructed eyes or at least visual nerves in this miracle, as the man was blind from birth. We can draw nice parallels to creation, as Jesus uses dirt to create the missing organs, just as Adam was made from dirt.
We can use a saying of Jesus that we will do the same miracles he did and bigger ones to derive that Jesus heals and even restores organs still today. With a little more logical accuracy in reasoning, less churchy humbleness, and a better understanding of the sonship of God we can even say that we heal today and restore organs.
And we can derive from the story that, as unfair as this seems, God uses people as showpiece for his glory. Modern understanding would be that the enemy destroyed this man’s eyesight before birth, and God allowed it to happen because he already knew that his son Jesus would heal the man. Thus God was glorified.
This is not really what the text is saying. The text omits the cause of blindness – nobody sinned, nobody was involved – and only gives the reason: to glorify God. The cause is pure speculation.
From this we know that not all sickness is caused by sin. And nothing more.
We also see that God heals in diverse ways. Jesus never healed the same way twice. That tells us that healing flows from a relationship with God and the situation at hand and cannot be planned with a process.
This understanding is very comforting for people that are blind from birth. They know three things:
They do not have to blame themselves for wrongdoing and causing their blindness.
Neither do they have to blame their parents.
And there is hope for restoration of sight.
It is a little harder to see that all this might be true for other birth defects. Jesus healed different sicknesses, ranging from fever to death. He also healed different disablements from blindness to lameness. We can probably safely deduct that he can heal different kinds of birth defects as well.
All this is therefore very comforting for all people who are sick or disabled. This story, among many others, gives them hope and faith.
But what about people who are healthy, but have other lacks and needs?
A deeper Need
For the last decades, people with other needs usually turned to blame others for their lack or failure. Fired up by psychology and psychotherapy, usually parents, surroundings, and circumstances get the blame.
Others blame themselves. Their inabilities, weaknesses, shortcomings, even their lifestyle, personality, or sin are the reasons they do not succeed.
The church with its worldview does its best in confirming them. Somewhere there must be hidden sin or lack of faith. Or a demon. Even a lack of confidence and identity because of their upbringing. But there needs to be a reason, and somebody to blame!
Most of the church is trapped in a worldview of rules, regulations, and hierarchies. You belong, you are save, and you are taken care of as long as you adhere to the rules and submit to the authorities.
If something comes at you, you at least must have exposed yourself to the enemy enough for him to have a target, or you must have sinned or rebelled.
Since the church is stuck in this worldview, it has answers for people with a less developed or equal worldview. People looking for basic survival needs, security, even some power structure, but held together with rules that all have to follow are helped by the church.
But what about people who want to explore the world, have personal success, strive for knowledge, and see man as capable outside the boundaries of institution?
What about people who see truth as subjective, long for equality and hate to define belonging by separation? That hate hierarchy?
What about people who have outgrown seeing God as a man, but more as energy? People who see God in everything? People who see the beauty of mature people working together forming a higher entity than the individual? That build organic, ever-changing hierarchies based on situational needs?
Their problems, needs, and concepts cannot be solved, met, or implemented by a traditional church.
These people might see something totally different in the story at hand.
A deeper Understanding
We all have blindspots from birth. Some of us cannot cope with shame, others have difficulties with anger, and others are fear driven. Some are very intellectual, but lack a grip on emotions, some are artistic, others handymen, some are empaths.
Today, we emphasise our strengths, having learned that it does not help to focus on our weaknesses because there is little success even with great effort.
But let us talk about wounds and shortcomings.
Many people who come to this world with a leaning towards their head. As their parents are different, their ways to perceive the world and to react to the world are often misunderstood. Many times we react withdrawing and adjusting our coping mechanisms. Deep wounds result, as the coping mechanisms help when we are young, but hinder once we mature.
Nobody is at fault, nobody to blame. Neither the parents not the child, because we are all uniquely and wonderfully made. It is exactly this uniqueness that keeps us from understanding each other and meeting all of each others needs.
It is not the enemy that is to blame. We are all made in God’s image and likeness, and he planned for us to be unique.
But we are blind to some things, just as the blind man in the story was blind naturally.
There is healing. God still heals today, and he can heal any kind of blindness. There is hope.
And still, God often wants to heal through the body of Christ. Having a rule and hierarchy based church, being unique often means that you do not fit, even belong.
Today, in most churches, people with a different worldview can often not survive or have to hide their believes and actions as they are threatening the so called unity, consistency, and homogeneity of the assembly.
But there is hope: God can heal even this blindness.