Kolar: The imperfections we don't like to see

Rev. Janel Kolar reflects on the tendency of people to judge others based on their appearances and circumstances without truly seeing them.

Rev. Janel F. Kolar is the pastor at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Dickinson, North Dakota.
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John 9:24-25: So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner."

He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."

When Jesus rubbed mud in the eyes of a man who had been blind from birth, the people didn’t believe it had happened. Some even thought it was a different man, not the blind man they had seen begging all those years. I suspect they weren’t good witnesses about that man for the same reason most of us wouldn’t be: they had walked by that beggar and made their judgements about him for years without really looking at him or knowing much about him.

Even the disciples assumed that either he or his parents had sinned and caused his blindness. When they asked Jesus about it, he made sure they knew that kind of thinking was nonsense. He said, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him.” Which begs the question: did God send that child into the world blind? Did God create someone who was not perfect?

We have a hard time dealing with that kind of thing. We want every child to be born healthy and normal, and when they aren’t, we assume the parents did something wrong or nature did something wrong. How often do we simply look at the imperfection of humankind and think “God sent that child into the world to reveal his works, just like God sent the rest of us into the world to reveal his works.”


The fact is, nobody is perfect – not one of us. We all have our kind of disability, imperfection, blindness….we just don’t want to admit it. We like to think we were born without blemishes or flaws, but the truth is, ours are simply easier to hide than those of others – the ones we don’t like to look at – the ones we could never truly testify about because we’ve never taken the time to truly look at them, to get to know them, to SEE them.

Jesus wants us to see them – to notice what might be done to change their lives, and what they can do on his behalf. There is no fault in being born blind. The problem is being born with sight, but being unable to truly “see”. Amen.

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