Blindness exacerbated by individual choice – part 3 of series on blindness and deception
The choices a person makes can bring the person into even more blindness.
This is Part 3 of a series addressing the questions:
- Are abusers spiritually blind? (Or psychologically blind, which is pretty much the same thing.)
- Are abusers deceived?
- If they are deceived, to what extent have they been deceived by others and to what extent have they deceived themselves?
- Are some abusers brainwashed or controlled or enslaved by others? Are some of them so controlled by people higher up the pyramid of evildoers, that they could be said to be victims themselves?
Part 2 discussed blindness from original sin. In this post I am talking about how the blindness from original sin is exacerbated by personal choice. In Part 4 I will talk about how blindness can be exacerbated by group choice and group-leader choice.
If you have suffered abuse, you might like to run the following questions through your mind as you read the scriptures I will give.
- How does it apply to your abusers?
- How does it apply to yourself?
- How does it apply to your loved ones?
Blindness exacerbated by individual choice
We can’t blame God for the choices we make:
Let no one say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God. For God tempts not to evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but every person is tempted, drawn away, and enticed by his own fleshly nature and evil desire. Then when desire has conceived, she brings forth sin, and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.
When people resist the pangs of their conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness:
For the wrath of God appears from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, seeing that what may be known of God is manifest among them. For God did show it unto them. For his invisible things – that is to say, his eternal power and Godhead – are understood and seen from the works of the creation of the world.
So they are without excuse, inasmuch as when they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, neither were thankful, but increased full of vain imaginations, and their foolish hearts were blinded. When they counted themselves wise, they became fools, and turned the glory of the immortal God into the similitude of the image of mortal man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and serpents.
Notes from Barb:
suppress the truth in unrighteousness. This speaks about the choice and intent to suppress the truth.
increased full of vain imaginations…they counted themselves wise, they became fools. This points to human choice: self-deception.
By their choice to keep on suppressing the truth, unbelievers can become so vain in their minds, so blinded in their understanding, that they are past repentance. Not all unbelievers go that far, but some do.
I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that henceforth you must not walk like other Gentiles walk, in vanity of their mind, blinded in their understanding, being alienated from the life that is in God, through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their hearts; who, being past repentance, have given themselves over to wantonness, to work all manner of uncleanness, even with greediness.
Past repentance = reprobate. Here are some reprobates in the Bible: Judas, Esau, Pharaoh, the priest Eli and his sons Hophni and Phineas. (link)
At Mt Sinai, the Israelites begged not to hear the voice of God.
Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
When Moses came down from the top of the mountain, his face shone with a supernatural light:
So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
The Israelites were afraid because the supernatural shine showed them how mighty and pure and powerful God is — and how sinful, impure and depraved they were compared to God’s perfection. Out of deference to their fear, Moses wore a veil over his face except when he was speaking with God or delivering God’s words to the Israelites. Why did Moses put a veil on his face? (and how Pharisees misinterpret it).
2 Corinthians 3:7-9, 12-18
If the ministration of death [God’s commandments given at Mt Sinai] through the letters figured in stones was so glorious that the children of Israel could not behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance (which glory nevertheless is done away with), why shall not the ministration of the Spirit be much more glorious?
For if the ministering of condemnation is glorious, much more does the ministration of righteousness [righteousness through faith in Christ] exceed in glory. …
Seeing then that we have such confidence, we speak boldly, and do not do as Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not see the purpose served by that which is abolished. But their minds were blinded. For until this day, the same covering remains unremoved in the old testament when they read it, which in Christ is put away. But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil hangs before their hearts. Nevertheless, when they turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.
The Lord no doubt is a Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And we all behold the glory of the Lord with his face revealed, and are changed into his likeness from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord.
In the next passage, Paul reminds believers how deceived they were in times past.
For we ourselves also were in times past unwise: disobedient, deceived; captive to desires, lusts, and diverse kinds of sensuality; living in maliciousness and envy, full of hate, hating one another.
Note from Barb. Paul is addressing believers, so “in times past” probably means “before you were given new life in Christ”. But by extension it could also be referring to the foolish and wrong things we do even after we have been born again.
Paul gives a litmus test for discerning who is still walking in darkness with blinded eyes:
1 John 2:11
He who hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and does not know where he goes, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
It is important to balance this ^ text against the texts that point to hatred being a righteous response to evildoing. Is it wrong to feel hatred and anger for my abuser?
The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Oh ye that love the Lord, see that ye hate the thing which is evil
Wilt thou not slay the wicked, oh God? / depart from me ye bloodthirsty men.
For they speak unrighteously against thee; / and thine enemies take thy Name in vain.
Do I not hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? / and am I not grieved with those that rise up against thee?
Yea, I hate them right sore; / even as though they were mine enemies.
Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart: / prove me and examine my thoughts.
Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me; / and lead me in the way everlasting.
Disciples of Christ are often somewhat blind. While they are saved from the penalty of sin through the blood of Christ, they are still blind to some things.
Having faith in Christ justifies, but it does not instantly remove all blindness in the individual. Jesus’ disciples were often blind – what Jesus was saying and doing took a long time to sink into their hearts.
For they did not remember about the loaves, because their hearts were blinded.
And when Jesus knew this, he said to them, Why are you troubled because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts still blinded?
Paul exhorts people not to deceive themselves with self-conceit:
If any person seems to himself to be something, when indeed he is nothing, the same deceives himself in his imagination.
Some experiences and some choices seem to render a person more vulnerable to blindness and deception.
When a person suffers trauma, particularly sexual abuse, and especially when they suffer it in childhood, their natural responses (terror, numbing, anger, grief, confusion, etc), and the disbelieving or judgemental responses of bystanders, can sometimes open doors for demons to play havoc with the person’s life. Note well: The victim did not choose to be abused; it was the perpetrator who chose to be abusive.
Choices like practising sexual immorality, getting into the occult, New Age and pagan practices are very dangerous. Those practices give the devil a BIG foothold.
But consider also such choices as indulging in ambition, envy, rivalry, factious uprisings, gluttony, etc., all of which are included in the deeds of the flesh:
The deeds of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, wantonness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, dissension, ambition, anger, rivalry, factious uprisings, sects, envying, murder, drunkenness, gluttony, and suchlike
The bondage to sinful habits can be hard to break. Self-examination is healthy for me to the degree that it prompts me to repent and resist the sins of the flesh. But self-examination and self-condemnation are not healthy when I become so engulfed in it that the devil takes over, knifes me, and then manacles me to his treadmill.
Kind of Anonymous describes that treadmill very well. She talks about the issue of the conscience and the difficulty of separating God’s definitions from those we have picked up in dysfunctional homes and churches and through abuse experiences. “Is God the one sending me these signals of displeasure, or is a malfunctioning conscience holding me to a standard or requirement God is not?”
This is where studying God’s word is so so important. Bring your bible to church to check up on the preacher! Weigh what others are teaching you against the whole counsel of God in his word.
I will speak plainly, because of the infirmity of your flesh. Just as you once gave your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity, from iniquity to iniquity, so now give your members* as servants to righteousness so that you may be sanctified. For when you were the servants of sin, you were not under righteousness. What fruit had you then, in those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. But now you are delivered from sin, and made the servants of God, and have as your fruit to be sanctified, and the end everlasting life. For the reward of sin is death, but eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
*Note in the New Matthew Bible: [Members: your limbs, minds, ears and eyes. Use all in righteousness. Keep from that which defiles or condemns. Guard the heart; from it come the issues of life. Prov 4:32]
I urge you to get your own copy of the NT of New Matthew Bible because the notes in it are spiritually uplifting and illuminating.
Submit yourselves to God. And resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
For an example of breaking a sinful habit, here is a story from a Christian woman. She was sexually abused as a small child, promiscuous during her teenage years, and got into porn after she was born again. She eventually entered a Christ-centered recovery program for her irresponsible behavior regarding pornography and has experienced sobriety for four years. Read her story here: When victims don’t look like victims: women burdened with sins and led astray by various passions
Now, dear readers, let me turn this over to you
What are your thoughts about all this? Do these scriptures bring up any questions or reflections or insights you’d like to share with us?
PS — I really appreciate it when people comment on my blog posts. If people submit comments (even if they just say a few words) I know that people are reading what I’ve written. Clicks and views don’t really count because a person can click to view but not stay to read the post.
Bible versions used in this series
Posts in this series
Part 2: Blindness from original sin
Part 3: Is this post
Part 6: Blindness as a judgment from God