Knowing and Doing Are Not the Same
Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:34
The first chemical dependency counselor I met explained to me that I had a disastrous life problem, but he also explained that it was treatable. He told me that if I followed the path laid out for me – attend out-patient treatment, work the 12 steps, and go to meetings – that I would find recovery. He taught me the knowledge of how to recover, but when it came to the doing, I took my own path. Though I accepted the information that those things worked for others, I just didn’t want to do them. So, while I knew the way, I didn’t follow it, and of course, I relapsed.
This is a life problem for me. My failures have not generally been knowledge problems. They have been behavioral problems. I didn’t abuse pills because I honestly thought it was a good idea. I knew it was destructive, hiding it from the beginning. I knew it was physically and spiritually unhealthy, but I wanted it anyway. This is the nature of addiction, to return to self-destructive behavior despite knowing the consequences.
In today’s passage, Jesus literally opened the eyes of two blind men, showing them the way, and giving them the ability to follow him. Upon receiving their sight, the two men responded in the only appropriate fashion. They immediately began following Jesus. They could have gone off to explore their brand-new world, but they knew the truth about who had transformed them, and they lived out the only proper response. They followed Jesus.
Daily, Jesus calls to each of us. Most of us know this. Most of us have heard the gospel and most of us understand our need for God. For most of us, our self-destructive struggles are not born out of ignorance. We know the right way. We just prefer the wrong one. Like me, early in recovery, and like the two blind men, God has shown us the path. Our daily choice then, is to continue to follow our way, or to make our feet follow what we claim to believe. Knowledge of God alone is not faith. Faith is living out what we know to be true, and faith is the only way to experience the eternal, authentic life that God intends for us.