Pastor’s Corner – March 2015

Jim Mann

In John chapter 9, Jesus heals a man that was born blind. What is most interesting about John’s account is the question his disciples ask before the healing, “Who sinned that this man was born blind; was it him or his parents?” Jesus’ disciples simply assume that God has caused this man’s blindness. That’s what they’ve been taught.

Jesus’ answer was quite literally (my translation), “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but in order to reveal the work of God in him.” Jesus simply says: God is a good God and doesn’t punish babies. And to show God’s goodness, Jesus heals the man. His blindness and questions about his sin were no longer an issue.

From everyone’s perspective, this man was held captive by his past sin. He was prevented from living a full and happy life, prevented from adding anything of benefit to society, prevented, really, from doing anything except surviving by begging every day because of his dark, sinful past. Jesus, the light of the world, freed him from his past. That’s the sign: Jesus’ power over the past.

Like this blind man, I think the devil wants to use our pasts to prevent us from having happy and whole lives, to keep us from benefitting others and to keep us begging in the streets in spiritual survival mode.

Sometimes if we look through dark sunglasses it’s hard to get a true picture of the world around us. When we use these to look at our past, all we can see are the mistakes and failures. We’re bound by shame and riddled with guilt. We look back and wish we could do it all over again. At this point it’s very easy to listen to the lies of the devil: God would never use you with all you’ve done…as many times as you’ve failed. So we’re stuck, like this blind man, paying for past sins like beggars in the street.

Sometimes we look through rose-colored glasses. When we wear these tinted spectacles we don’t get a true picture of what’s around us. Franklin Adams once said, “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.” The older I get, the better I was.

When we wear rose-colored glasses we don’t move forward in life because we’re constantly looking back to better times: before a loved-one died, before I got sick, before the bottom fell out of the stock market, before I lost my job, before the passion left our marriage, before we had all these kids. Sometimes we call this trap a “mid-life crisis,” but whatever you call it, it keeps us begging on the street.

Then there are the x-ray glasses. I remember as a kid ordering x-ray glasses from the back of a comic book. Pretty disappointing even to someone with a very active imagination like me! When we put these on, we see everyone else’s faults; like the Pharisees who charged this man’s blindness to his sin. Or we simply lay the blame at others’ feet. “I may be a miserable beggar, but it isn’t my fault. Others hurt me, others let me down. They damaged me!” Blame game; passing the buck.

My point is simply this: whatever glass we choose, whether we’re focused on past mistakes, pining for the good ol’ days, or blaming others, we’re not moving forward in life. We’re like this blind man, who because of his past was living a miserable life and had no real future ahead of him…that is, until Jesus shows up! Jesus healed his vision and gave him a new start. He can do the same for you. See you in church!

Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch, which meets at the Robson clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit for  more information.