Last night Julie and I watched “The Blind Side” with my parents and eleven year old daughter, Tabitha. Although Julie and I had viewed it when it first came out at the theater, it was my parents’ and Tab’s first time to watch this extraordinary true story. You probably already know the storyline . . . a wealthy white family invites a homeless sixteen year old black boy to live with them (ultimately resulting in his adoption) and he eventually becomes a football star for the Baltimore Ravens.
The story affected Julie and me so deeply, once again, that we sat up late discussing its implications in our lives. In a nutshell it comes down to this: God declares that “real spirituality” is to “care for widows and orphans.” (James 1:27) In other words, to care for those who cannot care for themselves. It’s what Jesus did. And since we are now to do all that Jesus did . . .
This morning my dad and I were up early having coffee. He told me a story that I had never heard before. When he was 17 he worked in a grocery store. He became friends with another teenage boy named Noah who happened to be black. My dad’s parents owned Hillside Park (a swimming park) in Clinton, Ohio. And on one Saturday my dad invited his friend Noah to come and swim at the park. Noah took him up on his offer. That evening, after Noah returned home, my grandmother (dad’s mom), told my dad never to invite another black person to their park. The thing that I find striking about this is that Grandma Nettle was one of the godliest followers of Jesus I ever met! She’s the one who prayed me into becoming a Pastor. And still, just 50 years ago, she had a horrible blind spot in her understanding of the heart of God.
As I recounted the story my dad told me to Julie, I explained to her that it was only 8 years ago that a very similar blind spot in my life began to be made apparent to me. I had been blind to God’s deep deep love for the marginalized. I’m still trying to figure out all of the implications . . . but I do know this: God loved this world so much, all of the people of this world, that He gave His Son and His Son gave His life, for me and for you and for orphans and those with HIV and the homeless and downtrodden, those without hope, with no-one to care . . . And we can do no less. If you think differently then I would ask you to consider if perhaps you too may have a blind spot.