Spiritual Blindness and Deafness

August 27, 2018

He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” (Isaiah 6:10)… According to St. John Chrysostom, Isaiah's prophecy does not mean God causes spiritual blindness in people who would otherwise have been faithful. This is a figure of speech common to Scripture revealing God as giving people up to their own devices (as in Rom 1:24, 26). What is meant by He has blinded is that God has permitted their self-chosen blindness...” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 12:40)

 

“In Scripture, a mystery is a truth God has revealed or will reveal at the proper time (Rom. 16:25–26). Jesus apparently used parables for several reasons. First, they are interesting and grab the listener’s attention. Second, such stories are easily remembered. Third, they reveal truth to those who are ready spiritually to receive it. Fourth, they conceal truth from those who oppose Christ’s message. Frequently Jesus’ opponents failed to understand the lessons because of their own spiritual blindness.” (Foundation Study Bible, Mark 4:11)

 

“C.S. Lewis illustrates spiritual blindness wonderfully in his book The Last Battle which is the last book his series, The Chronicles of Narnia. The hapless dwarfs choose to look out only for themselves during the destruction of Narnia, repeating constantly “the dwarfs are for the dwarfs” and staying in darkness and spiritual blindness. Even though Heaven was available to them and Jesus, in the form of Aslan the Lion, was standing right next to them, reaching out to them and ready to accept them at any moment, they could not see Him or heaven. They embodied a self-centeredness and mindset that made it impossible for them, by their own thoughts, choices and actions, to be reached, even by God.” (Sacramental Living)

 

“…we live in a culture that places priority on the technological acumen offered by our secular universities and colleges. The belief is widespread that education will solve all problems, since society’s maladies are the result of ignorance. This dangerous notion does nothing to address mankind’s ills. Indeed, our belief in the “solution” of education blinds us…Contemporary culture, however, has lost touch with true spiritual life. We see increasing disorder in the conduct of business, community affairs, and personal morality.” (Dynamis 7/5/2018)

 

“Christ is the light that cures all spiritual blindness. St. Paul could see clearly physically but not spiritually. He thought he was doing the right thing. It took physical blindness to truly open his eyes to see spiritually the truth of Christ. Sometimes it takes a jarring experience before we began to see the way Christ wants us too but it always still our choice.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

 

“If we are awaiting the day when God will prove Himself to us, we fail to notice that He has been doing just that from the very beginning; our smugness and pride have blinded us to what has always been there.” (Abbot Tryphon)

 

“Doubt doesn’t become a spiritual disease until it’s allowed to make its home in your heart and blind you to the evidence of God’s goodness all around you.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

 

“…here is a distinction here between God’s active will and His permissive will. God does not blind us with the active intent of preventing our right perception…However, He does permit us to resist Him – to say no to His will. In such a case, we blind ourselves.” (OCPM 5/24/2017)

 

“Unbelief is a wound of the human heart, a disease of perception, a noetic blindness.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“For judgment I have come into this world” (John 9:39)…Using an analogy from chemistry, we can liken the impact of His words and deeds on men’s lives to a spiritual “reagent.” A reagent evokes a specific response when it is introduced into the presence of other elements. The very presence of Christ precipitates a spiritual reaction in us. The eyes of our hearts may be opened, or they may turn dark in resistance to Him. Our spiritual state determines what our reaction to Christ will be…The bottom line is that Christ comes to save – to give sight, to illumine us. If we persistently prefer our own insights, we will remain blind (vs. 41). Then, at the great and final judgment, we will remain in darkness as a function of our personal choice.” (OCPM 5/18/2017)

 

“Our Lord entered a world burdened by sin, a world marred by strife, war, exploitation, injustice, oppression and spiritual blindness. It was a world that knew very little of the holiness of God. In our contemporary times we live in a very similar environment, but it is also one that is becoming more and more challenging to the life of faith. For some nothing is sacred; nothing is holy. We see an increase of the means and methods of profaning religious faith, language and culture, and the very best qualities and aspirations of life itself for the sake of recognition, fame, and money.” (Archbishop Demetrios of America)

 

“He [Christ] sees beyond the surface issues of politics and economics, penetrating into matters of heart and soul “that make for your peace.” He sees how sin blinds people, keeping truth “hidden from your eyes.” (Dynamis 12/1/2014) 

 

“Evil desires make the eye less sensitive and blot out the light of Christ’s presence. If you have a hard time seeing God at work in the world and in your life, check your vision. Are any sinful desires blinding you to Christ?” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 11:33-36)

 

 “While any one of us is engaging in destructive behavior, we are incapable of seeing and thinking clearly and fruitfully, and, as such, we are incapable of understanding the nature of our wrongdoing and the causes for its presence and power in our lives. We remain blinded and bound by our actions, which preclude any constructive conversations about them. To talk with an alcoholic who is actively drinking, for example, or with an overeater who is overeating, or a fornicator who is fornicating, is a waste of time and energy that cannot possibly bring fruitful results. The first talking, therefore, and the first goal of counseling, always has to do with actions, not attitudes. It is about behavior, not beliefs.” (Father Thomas Hopko)

 

“To say that God turns away from the sinful is like saying that the sun hides itself from the blind." (St. Anthony the Great)

 

“Some religious people are spiritually blind, while those who have never been in a church are sometimes the most responsive to God’s message…Ultimately, with the truth of God we are able to overcome the deceptions and spiritual blindness of our world…” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 10:18-20, Archbishop Demetrios of America)

 

“The dullness of our vision often hinders us from seeing the Lord’s presence in the relationships and situations we encounter every day…” (Dynamis 8/5/2015)

 

“There is only one way for people to confront themselves and that is through silence. All of us need to develop a tolerance for silence, a home to ourselves, a place to touch the wellsprings of life inside of us. There is nothing as valuable as silence. All of us must go back and be in touch with our inner resources.” (Thomas Merton)

 

“We, too, refuse to be still. We say, in effect,"No! I need to go on the internet and my smartphone. I need to work on my many good projects. I need to talk with friends and plan good things. I will schedule my day with beneficial projects and even church-related work. But, Lord, I’ll tell you one thing: I will not be still.” Okay, but we pay a high price for not being still…So, what happens when we are still? We can begin to listen to the voice of God…The human heart is open to the voice of God when in silence and solitude.” (Albert S. Rossi, Abbott Tryphon)

 

“We"hear” God in our hearts. We know God through our hearts. We can’t hear properly amidst too much busyness and noise. That is why the Psalmist says ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10). Busyness and noise not only dull our hearing, they also dull our sight. Christ said, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.’ (Matthew 5:7). We can’t obtain purity of heart without cultivating silence and stillness thus we run the risk of being both spiritually deaf and blind.” (Sacramental Living II)