“Perhaps it is part of our fallen human condition to blame victims for their own sad circumstances, perhaps in the unspoken hope of feeling better about ourselves in the process” (Steagald, 89).
Scripture: John 9:1-2 (GNT)
“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His disciples asked him, ‘Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents' sin?’”
I think about this story of the healing of a man blind from birth, the skepticism and questioning surrounding his healing, and the overall sense of demonizing him, and I wonder to myself: how often have I been guilty of doing the same thing? I must admit that there are times when I see someone on the street, out in public – a scruffy-looking panhandler at the light, a mother with small children sitting on the corner holding a sign asking for donations, or a young man approaching people as they enter a place of business asking for what little money they have to give for a bus pass and a meal. To be honest with myself, with others, and with God, I must admit that I have looked on these people at times and wondered not just how they got there, but what they did to get there, what mistakes they may have made. All the while I know that sometimes people living in those types of circumstances are there through no fault of their own. I don’t intend to be this way, but I have to acknowledge that looking at them without compassion and with disdain for their own mistakes helps me to feel better about myself. It reinforces my own sense of self-righteousness.
So this week's text from John 9 serves to slap me in the face and remind me that this is not the kind of response that anyone deserves. I am reminded today that I have no right to be so judgmental. And as a follower of Christ, I am called to see such people for who they are, offering healing and release. We may feel that is not within our power. But somehow, I think maybe it is.