John 9: 1- 7
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.”
It is the human inclination to look for who to blame.
Jesus, however, disrupts the typical scapegoating process. Jesus suggests something his disciples hadn’t even thought of.
One reason we seek out who to blame is our own ego need. We want to deflect attention away from our own deficits. We want the attention to be on someone worse than we are. We put a lot of energy into maintaining our façade of “got it all together.”
Contrast this with the idea of ego strength – something Jesus embodied in spades. Ego strength means I don’t have to pretend I’m better than I am. I have accepted the reality of my paradoxical mixture of belovedness and brokenness; my strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between. My radical self-acceptance means I don’t have to invest in personas. I can receive insight from others – even if it critiques or corrects. I’m not threatened. I don’t have to get defensive. It doesn’t shake my deep knowing and loving of who I am.
Ego need means we still don’t see ourselves.
Ego strength means we come home seeing.
- What keeps you from fully accepting the whole of who you are?
- Think of someone in your life who embodies ego strength. What attributes do they embody that you aspire to?
Give us the vision to see ourselves freed from competition, insecurity, defensiveness, and the proclivity to blame others. Instill in us the hope of moving into this kind of freedom. Amen.
This Lenten reflection accompanies the Tell Your Pastor #imaffirming initiative. To learn more click here.