I long ago reconciled with the fact I’m not wired for resolutions that demand a determined decision to a specific course of action. They’ve always felt like a teacher assigning daily busy work I was bound to turn in late or never at all.
However, optically speaking, “resolution” simply means having the capacity to distinguish or discern objects clearly. And I’m always working to see more clearly. New reading glasses, followed by new prescription glasses this last year are a physical reminder of high and healthy optical resolution.
But what about spiritual resolution; or political, pop cultural, or racial resolution – is it possible to clarify or even improve how we see ourselves, God, and the world? And if so what would that look like; and what would it require from us?
I think it’s indeed possible, and abundantly necessary, to have clear spiritual sight. What’s required from us for high resolution spiritual optics is unwavering commitment to seeing the world through the lens of Jesus’ Gospel about the restoration of all things.
Like prescription eye wear, micro and tele scopes, a Gospel lens will necessarily change how you see almost everything – such as religion, relationships, reputation, politics, justice and what it means to be fully human. In fact, I think it clarifies pretty much everything!
In this regard Gospel is intimately connected to truth, such as the truth about yourself. As Paul says, “with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power (Eph 1:18-19).”
Gospel is also truth in that it shows the world at is really is. Wealth, power imbalances, peace through violence, and self-righteousness are all unmasked as morally missing the mark through Jesus’ Gospel lens. Such as the truth, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation (Luke 6:20,24).” Gospel truth isn’t always easy to hear! But it is always good (usually first and foremost for the marginalized (Matt 21:31-46) and those in need of a doctor (Matt 9:12-13)), and it always leads to personal and public transformation.
Sometimes the gospel requires us to discard old wineskins and mental models, throw around some tables in the robbers den, or painstakingly unmask some lies before the seeds of transformation can bring new life. Jesus, after all, fulfilled the prophecy that he would not stop “until he brings justice to victory (Matt 12:15-21).” Truth-telling is at the very heart of the restorative justice which will bring peace to our cities.
I need to be able to see issues like immigration, affirmation of my LGBT friends and family, racialization in Ferguson, and war propaganda in film honestly before I can understand how God is present and calling me to act. The Gospel gives us the spiritual resolution to see these and other issues “with the eyes of our heart enlightened.”
So this year, here’s to good eyesight! Sight for our physical eyes to keep us in the right lanes of traffic and for our spiritual eyes to keep us on the straight and narrow!
Happy New Year!