Every three years, hospitals must go through a major inspection to make sure they remain in compliance with all the local, state, and federal health rules and regulations, which are themselves constantly evolving and changing.
The inspection is a grueling process spread out over a very long week as multiple investigators go over every facet of operations with a fine-tooth comb. Much is at stake. With the stroke of a pen, the inspectors can stop the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars, close the hospital, send thousands of competent, caring people into sudden unemployment, and leave an entire community bereft of its medical care.
A few weeks ago, I sat across the table from the team that had come to inspect East Texas Medical Center. Because we are a major trauma center, we are held to an even higher standard than the vast majority of hospitals in the United States. I was representing the 500+ doctors on staff who had elected me, but also, by extension, every single person who works at my hospital or comes there for care. No pressure.
The lead investigator asked what I hoped to see happen the week of the inspection. I told him in response that I hoped the inspection would help us identify any blind spots. “Since we are located in a small town,” I explained, “our goal of excellence isn’t just professional in nature, but personal as well. Each of us in the room might be a provider of care one day and a recipient of care the next. We all attend to friends and family on a routine basis and want to make sure both they and we receive the best medical care possible.”
Institutions as well as individuals, however, are prone to having blind spots.
The whole purpose behind these inspections is to point out such areas of weakness, so that we can address them and actually achieve the excellence we seek.
- Every business has some sort of regulatory process. What sort of inspection or certification process does your business have?
- Does anyone ever look forward to having regulators sift through all their business dealings with white gloves and a magnifying glass?
- As painful as it can be, does the inspection process play an important role in maintaining and improving a good and safe business?
- Would you feel comfortable eating at a restaurant that had multiple health code violations, such as rats running loose in the kitchen?
- Would you want your car repaired at a shop that charged you for premium quality parts, but substituted cheap junk instead?
Today’s lesson, in John 9, tells the story of Jesus healing a man who was blind from birth. It was a wonderful and unprecedented miracle and was met with appropriate awe from the man who was made to see again.
The strange thing about the story is not that Jesus performs another miracle of healing, but how the religious leaders of the time respond to the event. Instead of being amazed and praising God, they react first with doubt and then with anger. It seems as though they are completely blind to the miracle unfolding right before them.
- What are some things the leaders do that demonstrate their doubt about the miracle really taking place?
- Isn’t it sadly comical how the man, after being badgered by the religious leaders over and over, asks them if they want to be Christ’s disciples, too? Do you think he fails to see what they are doing, or is he simply goading them?
- What are some things the religious leaders do that demonstrate their anger?
- Does their reaction remind you of the five stages of grief we discussed in an earlier lesson—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance?
- What do the leaders stand to lose if Christ really has healed a blind man? Do you think they choose to intentionally blind themselves to this miracle, in an effort to protect their social status?
Blind spots don’t only affect businesses and religious leaders; blind spots inevitably affect each and every one of us.
- Does our society as a whole have blind spots when it comes to God? Have the blind spots always been there or have they developed and grown over time?
- Are the blind spots based on ignorance or willfulness? Who stands to lose something if society starts to “see” things God’s way?
- Whose job is it to point out society’s blind spots about God and how should that objective be tackled? Will society welcome the insight?
- What about the church, does it have blind spots? New or old? Growing or shrinking? Based in ignorance or willfulness?
- Who will point out the church’s blind spots and how? Will such revelations be welcomed? Who will lose if the church’s eyes are opened? Who will ultimately gain?
- What about you? Do you have blind spots? Are they based on willfulness? Whom do you trust to point them out? What will you lose by addressing them? What do you stand to gain?
Spiritually speaking, we are all born blind.
It is only when Christ opens our eyes that we begin to truly see. Many of the things we see are beautiful, but some of them are not. While we have the pleasure of enjoying the beautiful things Christ shows us, we have a responsibility of addressing the ugly things He brings to our attention.
Our initial reaction may be to deny the ugly things we see in society, our churches, or ourselves; to close our eyes to them and pretend they don’t exist. We may even become angry, try to bargain with God, or become depressed over the whole situation. Ultimately, however, Christ wants us to accept the role He has given us, to be ambassadors for Him. He has opened our eyes that we might be salt and light to the world, shining into dark places, and pointing out blind spots along the way.
NOTE: This post is adapted from my Life’s Big Questions Series, which encourages readers to examine all of life’s questions in the light of Scripture. Whether used for personal devotions, as family discussion guides, or in a study group, this series provides an invaluable resource for enhancing your spiritual walk.