After reading this post at Practical Theology for Women on raising the bar on what it means to be a Christian it got me to thinking about focus, sin and judgment. This was a great post! It reminded me how important it is to remain non-judgmental from the sins of my spouse; yet at the same time not being blind to them either. After all, we are called to help each other when we see attitudes or behaviours in our brothers and sisters that seem off-center. (Galatians 6:1)
However, in trying to help each other it’s important that vision doesn’t become inverted. In the basic biology of the eye there’s a great lesson. The eye sees with two types of vision at the same time: Peripheral (side vision) and fovea centralis (central vision).
It’s much easier to “raise the bar” on what it means to be a Christian when it comes to a husband while, at the same time, lower it when it comes to ourselves. When I focus on my man’s faults this means I’ve brought them (and him) into the central vision. The vision that is sharp and intense – it sees all. However with the peripheral, we do see it also – it’s just not as noticeable and lots of times we even miss things that happen there!
My favourite scene in the film The Silence of The Lambs is an exchange that takes place between Special Agent Clarice Starling and Dr. Hannibal Lecter. He has just released a scathing synopsis of her life, in order to knock her off balance by offending her. Her response is perfect: “You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don’t you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you’re afraid to.”
How do I know if my vision has been inverted? His faults will scream louder than my own. I’ve put my husband’s actions in fovea centralis when I see only his negative behaviours rather than my own; his good behaviours fade into the peripheral – going unnoticed.
This is judgment
The longer I keep him in the center vision in this regard, the easier it becomes to see only how his actions affect me – not how my actions and behaviours effect him.
This is selfishness
If I keep my husband in the line of vision that is judgment and selfishness, I place myself in the state of perpetual unforgiveness, this isn’t safe – for either of us. The safest place for his negative behaviours are in the side vision. I can’t let my husband’s faults distract from my own spiritual maturity.
To borrow from Special Agent Clarice Starling, Let’s look at ourselves with the high powered precision and write down what we see.