18 The Jewish leaders didn’t believe the man had been blind and received his sight until they called for his parents. 19 The Jewish leaders asked them, “Is this your son? Are you saying he was born blind? How can he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know he is our son. We know he was born blind. 21 But we don’t know how he now sees, and we don’t know who healed his eyes. Ask him. He’s old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they feared the Jewish authorities. This is because the Jewish authorities had already decided that whoever confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why his parents said, “He’s old enough. Ask him.” John 9:18-23, CEB
The Pharisees’ response in this passage reminds me of a basic human tendency. We develop an understanding of what “good” means that make sense to us. Things we don’t understand, or things that challenge us must be “evil”, rather than good. Perhaps we don’t use the word “evil”, but we think something quite like that. I think this is sometimes why we fear change…it’s simply unfamiliar. It’s hard to plan for. It doesn’t fit into the understanding of the world that we’ve developed.
Occasionally, people meet with us to discuss recovery resources who ardently proclaim that the resources themselves must be “Christian”. Evidently, that’s a category that we can understand. It’s familiar. It’s not challenging or scary where hardcore 12-step recovery might be. I wonder, if we were pre-programmed to look for the goodness of God (even in the unexpected) would we be open to the “good” that we find in 12-step recovery, even if it’s unfamiliar?
The reverse is also true. We talk to people who do NOT want any kind of specific faith talk to enter a conversation about recovery. I get it. I totally understand the various reasons people struggle with faith, and I understand that. I have no judgment there. In recovery, we know that not everyone’s faith is going to look the same way. But, I wonder, when we’re so closed off, do we miss the opportunity to see and experience something “good”?
I think a good exercise to avoid thinking like these particular Pharisees is to simply force ourselves to truly consider the things in our lives that make us uncomfortable. I don’t think we have to do everything that makes us uncomfortable. I’m just saying, don’t run from stuff simply because it’s uncomfortable.