Blind spots. This term is probably most recognizable in relation to driving. We can think we are progressing down the road correctly and have the ability to continue down the path with no fear of crashing; however, there can be another individual in their vehicle that is moving down the same road just out of sight. Veer into their lane and while we think no harm will ensue, a crash that will impact both parties takes place. Collin Hansen in his excellent book Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church explores the blind spots we likely have as believers, how to identify those areas in our walk and relationships, and what it means and looks like when the church is focused together as the body on the mission God has given us both collectively and individually.
This is quite the challenging book, not because of scholarly word usage or its overall length, but rather due to the issue Hansen addresses. We likely do not think of ourselves as having blind spots. Sure we have areas of our Christian walk that need work, but viewing them as something which could result in negative consequences in our relationships with fellow believers, our own personal walk, and most importantly how we interact with the world at large is something many of us are rather ignorant of at best.
Hansen presents three key elements of our mission as believers and characteristics that should form how we engage in that mission, namely being courageous, compassionate, and commissioned. We each have been gifted by God with tools to perform our function in the body of Christ. Understanding how those gifts can interact and build on the gifts of others leads Hansen to rightly note that, “when these differences cohere around the gospel of Jesus Christ, they work together to challenge, comfort and compel a needy world with the only love that will never fail or fade.” It is when we fail to recognize those differences and more importantly, when we neglect to have at the core of our actions the mission God has given us as believers that things begin to go awry.
There is a delicate balance that must be struck if we are to be courageous, compassionate, and commissioned. Unfortunately, as Hansen notes throughout this book, we have the tendency to lose that balance and as a result, we lose our focus on declaring the message of the gospel, replacing that necessary goal with cheap parlor tricks aimed at trying to make the message of salvation “relevant” to society. Hansen aptly reveals that the “compassionate struggle to empathize with their critics. The courageous don’t like truth that makes them look bad. And commissioned Christians don’t always enjoy the mission with it jeopardizes their lifestyle and preconceived notions about the way of the world.” When we fall into any of those lack of balance issues, we tend to present Jesus to the world in an image of our own making, believing that our way is best, lashing out at fellow believers who just don’t “get it”, along the way failing to understand that perhaps it is us who didn’t get it.
Throughout this helpful book, Hansen challenges the reader to stay focused on the one thing that binds us, declaring the message of salvation to a lost and hurting world. Will there be instances when different methods will need to be used for different audiences? Certainly there are allowances for methodological changes provided they don’t divert from the message of salvation presented in Scripture. Is it important to be engaged in the culture battles of our day? Absolutely as long as we don’t assume our courage means assuming that the government can address and save us, forgetting that salvation comes from the Lord. In our compassion for just causes, we cannot lose sight of the continued reality of sin in this world, nor should we forget to declare the coming redemption and restoration that will take place when Christ returns. Hansen addresses all of these issues with great insight, biblical wisdom, and what will likely be a needed kick in the shorts for many, including myself.
I highly recommend this book for all believers. We all have blind spots in our lives and the sooner we recognize them and understand how to address those areas the better. We have a job to do and when we deal with our blind spots through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will find ourselves better equipped to serve God in the capacity He has given us in the body of Christ so that we might declare the love of Christ and to be His hands and arms to those who so desperately need to hear the message found in Scripture.
This book is available for purchase from Crossway Books by clicking here.