Monday, January 20, 2020

What If We All Could See 20:20 in 2020?

Whenever we have our eyes examined, 20:20 is the standard. Basically, 20:20 vision means we can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If the second number is higher, such as 20:40, it means one’s eyes probably need corrective lenses for being able to see what the average person can see unaided from 20 feet away. 

Is seeing 20:20 in 2020 an impossible dream?
With this year being 2020, I’ve been thinking how nice if we all could see life with 20:20 vision rather than the skewed, even distorted, vision that seems to afflict so many. “Consensus” these days has become more the exception than the rule. Two people can look at exactly the same thing – or issue – and see something entirely different, not only physically but also politically, ethically, morally or spiritually.

This is why the term “worldview” has become so important in understanding the disparity of values that people hold. How we view the world shapes how we think, how we act, and how we interact. One person’s “20:20” seems like 20:200 to someone else.

What would it be like if we all could see 20:20 in 2020? 

To even ask such a question seems ludicrous. Basically it would mean that everyone should see things the way I do, or you do, or someone else does. It’s like comparing a person who can discern the full range of colors accurately with someone that’s colorblind. Even among those who are colorblind, there are some who see only black, white and shades of gray; others can recognize some colors, but within a much narrower range.

So the notion of everyone enjoying 20:20 vision in terms of beliefs, philosophy and values seems unlikely, maybe even a flat-out impossibility.

I would have to agree. After all, if we all thought exactly alike, wouldn’t that be boring? Many of us would be unnecessary. At the same time, I’d like to believe the chasm between convictions that we find so accentuated these days needn’t be so broad.

Even within the local church, we find significant differences: sacraments like baptism and communion, worship styles, types of music used during services, even which versions of the Bible to use. But as the Scriptures point out, there also should be common ground, areas where we all can see 20:20.

It was C.S. Lewis who wisely observed, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” I’ve referred to this statement before, and love it because it encapsulates how we as followers of Jesus Christ should approach whatever we encounter during the course of a day.

The apostle Paul, writing to believers in the ancient city of Corinth, expressed a similar view when he declared, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Rather than “majoring in the minors,” debating non-essential aspects of doctrine and practice, Paul was telling his readers that Jesus had to be central – foundational to everything he said, everything he did.

Elsewhere the apostle Paul wrote, "As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died” (Galatians 6:14, New Living Translation). Recognizing the many distractions that surround us, the many temptations that can get us off track, Paul had determined to focus his 20:20 vision on what mattered most – Jesus Christ, who He was, what He did, and our need to respond to the precious, priceless gift He offered to everyone who would believe in Him.

So, can we all have “20:20 vision” on everything, seeing all things the same way? No. And we shouldn’t. But the Bible does assert, to paraphrase what Lewis wrote, that to be a Christian – a genuine disciple of Christ – we should constantly strive to see things through His eyes, from His divine, perfect perspective. 

Alas, even then, 20:20 vision spiritually will remain beyond our grasp. At least in this life. “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely" (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT).

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