When I drive, there are times when I squint because the sun is shining directly into my eyes from a sunrise, sunset or a really bright reflection. Squinting is my attempt to cut back on too much sunlight, so I can attempt to see the road in front of me along with preventing a car wreck. On the other hand, if I’m sitting by my picture window at my house and the sun is coming up, I don’t squint. Instead, I discover the unique beauty of each sunrise, taking in the splendor, colors, light contrasts, slow changes, peek-a-boo horizon and the sun lifting into the sky. Truly, this can be a very worshipful experience and I love it!
If I squint, however, I cut down on what I see and consequently my experience and scope. Squinting helps to limit our range of vision, particularly when we don’t want to visually take in everything. In some cases, it’s very helpful to squint. But I also think that it’s possible that we have adopted the squinting technique because we don’t like the things we see, hear or read about around us. For example, we don’t like certain “versions” of news reporting, so we “squint” and cut out what is unpleasant to us. Or maybe we “squint” when we hear a sermon or watch a Bible teaching that we don’t like. It’s possible that we “squint” in various conversations where we disagree and find the dialogue to be challenging or disconcerting.
I appreciate that we all have things that we like and things we dislike. I’m not being critical of preferences. I think, however, it’s necessary to reflect on the possibility that by “squinting” we might be limiting our view of Jesus, who is the Light of the world. Maybe when we squint we might be limiting the “Sonlight.” Perhaps this was some of the problem of the religious’ leaders in Jesus’ day. They squinted and missed seeing Jesus for who He really is, the Son of God, Light of the World, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Healer, Provider, Genuine Love in skin and Sacrificial Lamb of God.
Thankfully, Nicodemus didn’t squint when he looked at and talked with Jesus. Of course Nicodemus had his religious biases and preferences, but in his conversation with Jesus in John 3, we see that he was willing to take off the squint. During this dialogue, we see Nicodemus looking at and fully interacting with Jesus. In Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus, he adjusted his lens and filters so that he could see and interact with Jesus authentically and not merely through a religious squint.
I believe that this pertains to us in our current living if we consider that Jesus is the Light of the World. Instead of squinting and limiting our range of vision, we might see and experience Jesus more fully if we ask Him to help us see Him–even in places, conversations and contexts that are disagreeable to us.
Let’s remember that Jesus showed up with some less-than-pristine characters. Jesus also had very rich discussions with seedy people and He died on a cross, hanging as a criminal even though He’s the Son of God.
Let’s ask how we can see and hear Jesus instead of squinting which might be critical and hostile.