Addressing Our Blind Spots

The Executive Coach from the CEO Onboard Program I’m taking visited us in February to assess some aspects of both my performance and our mission following the first few months of my leading WMPL. On the one hand, it was daunting to have him interact with our staff to get their feedback; on the other hand, I was looking forward to input on what he thought was going well and in what areas I could improve.

It’s easy to feed off the encouragement of others regarding our performance. We don’t always appreciate the important things we can learn when others confront us with our blind spots. John Maxwell, a leadership expert, defines blind spots as “an area in someone’s life in which he continually fails to see himself or his situation realistically.”1 It can be uncomfortable, but I’ve grown tremendously as a leader and follower of Jesus by opening myself up to feedback and constructive criticism.

This revealing of our blind spots is no less critical in our roles as global workers who accept the call to bring the hope of Jesus to the far reaches of the world, in lands where we don’t know the culture and have to learn, like infants, how to think, behave, and interact with those we serve.

Jesus, through the gospel message in his Sermon on the Mount in Galilee (Matthew 5-7), confronted several of his listeners’ blind spots. I’ll highlight a significant one. We read,

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

see Matthew 7:1-5 ESV

Jesus then asks listeners (us!) why we see the speck in our brother’s eye but do not notice the log in our own eye. And he commands us to first take the log out of our eye so we will see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.

I learned some things about perceptions of my new working relationships at WMPL that were off track and needed to be corrected. The Executive Coach helped other workers see things about me from an outside perspective, and there were some judgmental attitudes in myself that perhaps needed to be brought to the surface and changed. It’s humbling to realize there is a log in my eye, after making assumptions and finding other areas that I was ignorant about. We can so easily be hurt and hurt others due to our blind spots. I’m so blessed to have a great team to serve the Lord with, yet even though we love each other, there are undoubtedly times when the theoretical grinding of iron on iron can result in hurt rather than the useful sharpening that can allow God’s work in us.

If we expect to deepen our walk with Christ and effectively carry out our task of sharing the gospel, we must acknowledge that we all have blind spots or areas that need adjusting. We must recognize the need to surround ourselves with a community of honest believers who will be open to sharing with us as they see our desire to receive feedback. Do we desire honest feedback from our co-workers, family, friends or from with the communities we serve? Are we praying that the Holy Spirit reveals areas in our lives that don’t align with Scripture? Is self-righteousness or pride keeping us from experiencing the true freedom that humility provides?

My hope and prayer are that we will have the humility to accept that we all have blind spots and that as believers, we help each other to

Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1b-2 ESV

As I dropped off my Executive Coach at the airport, he spoke encouragingly and said, “You have a great team!” Those words were a blessing to me, and I hope they are to our workers, who diligently serve the Lord so that all may know him. I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” as I meet Jesus face to face, and I know that is something we all hope to hear. May it be so, in Jesus’ name.

  1. Maxwell, John. Leadership Blind Spots.” September 22, 2015. ↩︎

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