I remember taking Driver’s Ed. There came a time in the class where we took the instruction and put it into practice by driving around. When it was my turn to log some hours, he had me drive on the freeway for a while. There were times when he had to hit the brakes on his side of the car because I wouldn’t go slower than the speed of traffic. When I went to change lanes, the instructor asked me what I needed to check after I turned on my blinker. I replied, “My rear view and side mirror.” He then asked, “What else?” I shrugged. He told me I needed to look over my shoulder as well to check my blind spot. If I change lanes and hit a car, it’s my fault because I should have checked my blind spots. I’ve never forgotten those instructions.
We all have blind spots in our lives, and we all need instruction and correction too, but not all of us invite it into our lives. In Exodus 18, Moses’ father in law had heard all of the great things Moses had done for his people, so he went to meet him. The next day he saw Moses judging the people and how inefficient it was. After asking a few questions about it, he said, “Moses’ father-in-law said to him in Exodus 18:17-18, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you [to bear]; you cannot do it alone” (AMP). He gave Moses a better way to do it. Instead of responding, “I’m in charge here and don’t need your help,” Moses listened to the counsel, received the instructions and accepted the correction. How do you respond when someone does that to you?
Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.” Counsel is an outside perspective that helps guide us so we don’t hit things, or people, in our blind spots. Instruction is someone else telling us how do something we often think we know how to do. Correction is being told we’re in the wrong. All three are often hard to receive because of our pride. If we’re willing to put aside our pride, and invite these three things into our life with an open heart and mind, we will achieve far more than we ever could without it. We will also have better relationships with the people around us because we won’t be bumping into them in our blind spots as much. The key is for us to invite it into our lives or to accept it when someone else, including an in law, is offering it.
One of the things that leadership consultants like myself share with people is a Johari Window. It’s the image you see here. On the left, is where I like to start because many leaders like to control their image. The top left is known as The Arena. It’s the part of themselves that they show to others. It’s the things about themselves that they know and others know about them. Then just below that is The Facade. It’s what they know about themselves, but they don’t let other people know it. The fear is that if others knew this about you, they wouldn’t like you or follow you. The size of the windows depends on who you’re talking to. The more open book they are, the larger The Arena is and the smaller The Facade is. The less of themselves they share with others, the smaller The Arena is and the larger The Facade is.
The top right is very important. It’s called The Blind Spot. Each of us have blind spots in our lives. There are things that others see, but we don’t. The more open to criticism you are, the smaller this window is. The problem is that most people don’t invite others in to look at these in our life, so we go through life thinking that everything is ok until something happens and exposes something in our blindspot. We call that getting blindsided. Other people easily see our blind spots because they have an outside perspective on our life, but truly God has the best perspective. That’s why David constantly asked God to examine his life for hidden (blind spot) sins.
Psalm 26:2 says, “Lord, you can scrutinize me. Refine my heart and probe my every thought. Put me to the test and you’ll find it’s true” (TPT). The closer we get to Jesus, the more authority we give Him to look into the hidden closets and motives of our heart. We want Him to search us and know us to see if there’s wicked way in us (Psalm 139:23). We each have sins and things we’re tempted by (weaknesses) that we hide in our Facade. Those are things we confess in order to get forgiveness and freedom from. The hidden sins are the ones we also need exposed in order to gain freedom from them. Only by allowing God to examine us can they be brought to light though. The more we allow Him to scrutinize us, the more He can refine us, but it all starts with us praying and asking for it.
P.S. The bottom right is The Unknown. It’s your untapped potential that God has placed in you and will come out when the conditions are right. I’ll write more on this another time.
In one of my previous jobs, we had a saying: Feedback is a gift. One of the ways feedback was encouraged was after a presentation among your peers, you had to give yourself feedback in front of everyone. When you were done, one of your peers would give you feedback as well. One of the hardest things to do was to stand there, smile and accept it, especially when it wasn’t right from your perspective. The others didn’t know your intent. They could only see your actions, and that’s what they gave feedback on. Every once in a while, someone would lose their cool during this process. It wasn’t ever a good thing to argue with the feedback someone was giving you. They could usually see something you were blind to.
In today’s world, giving someone feedback is a huge risk. No one wants to be corrected, but every one of us needs it. Galatians 6:1 tells us that if we see someone overtaken in sin, those who are spiritual should gently restore that person in love. Many times we’ve sinned or have offended someone without really knowing it. We can’t see it ourselves because we know our own intent, but don’t realize how our actions came across to someone else. It’s best to receive corrections in an humble spirit, rather than a defensive one, so that we can grow. God has placed people around us with the ability to see things in our blind spots.
The psalmist of 141, who was just as human as we are, prayed in verse 5, “When one of your godly lovers corrects me or one of your faithful ones rebukes me, I will accept it like an honor I cannot refuse. It will be as healing medicine that I swallow without an offended heart. Even if they are mistaken, I will continue to pray” (TPT). This is the attitude we should all have. Even if their wrong, we should put them on blast. Accept it, thank them for their concern and then pray and ask God to show you if there is something they see that you don’t. Receiving feedback and correction is a gift that should never be taken lightly. It’s God’s way of keeping us on His path.