There are not many who don’t get into a Monty Python classic or four. The movie, Yellowbeard (1983) features John Cleese in a characteristically subversive role of hilarity. The satirical comedy spoof based on the plot of the Blackbeard movie (1952, 2006) is a classic. Cleese plays Harvey “Blind” Pew saying at one point, “I maybe blind but I’ve got a cute earing,” to which Commander Clement (played by Eric Idle) says, “I’m not interested in your jewellery, cloth eyes.”
We know, of course, that the deprived-of-senses impaired person has the ability to compensate via the acuteness (not ‘a cute’) of the other senses. Blind Pew has special auditory powers yet his awkwardness of vocal delivery has Clement also in a blind spin as to his meaning—generating our raucous laughter, of course.
The spiritual bent is also around blindness. John Newton penned Amazing Grace to the lines of “I once was blind but now I see.” Spiritual blindness is a far more heinous ailment (and far more common) than that of physical blindness, yet it’s entirely curable. Newton was an ex-dastardly slave trader with 20,000 souls haunting him. His spiritual sight, however, gave him the powers of revelation—to a heart after God’s—and to the revelation of his sin-guilt. An impossible burden to bear without a gracious God girding the journey!
He saw not only his lamentable acts for what they were, but he saw the incredible mercy of God in the midst of his guilt and shame—further deepening his understanding of a God full of grace beyond his comprehension.
Yet, Jesus and John the Baptist both came against the blind Pharisees who, whatever they saw, were never happy to view things past their own obvious spiritual blindness—piously alive to God, they were ironically most dead to his Spirit.
Like children sitting in a marketplace, says Jesus in Matthew 11:16-19, they heckled as if spoiled children, preferring the living to-be-Saviour, and those before him including John and the Prophets and the Law, to whistle Dixie, chasing their tales until the cows came home!
And the vast majority of people are like this. They’ll prefer the pathetic safety of their own irredeemable knowledge over the truth of life and the wisdom of Creation.
Those who do i.e. who choose spiritual blindness, whether ‘saved’ or not, only fool themselves. ‘Repent, for the kingdom of God is near,’ is, however, our constant spiritual marker of success with God.
Those who were blind but can now truly see will see themselves truly—sinners, saved by God for works according to his purposes—saved to love both God and humankind, and to continually surrender, walking humbly with their God (Micah 6:8) each day, relating closely with his Spirit.
Spiritual sight might be blindingly scary in some ways, but it’s an infinitely better life than the old excuse for living, which ironically wasn’t i.e. living. Spiritual sight is insight beyond the very superficial and linear first-view world. It is a dynamism that creates in us the ability to even begin to envisage eternity—too awesome a thought to even contemplate for the best part.