As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
My pickup was red and shiny and had tires with chrome rims that would blind you if the sun hit at just the right angle. Pam and her parent’s toy poodle were in the front seat and we were driving through our hometown on a warm sunny day. I had picked the slowest lane and after a quick glance in the side mirror, I switched to the other. That is when I heard the crash and felt the thud.
In my haste to save time, I had fallen victim to the blind spot, the part of the road that can only be seen if you turn and look for yourself instead of trusting an imperfect mirror. A car slammed into the driver’s side and spun us around in the middle of the busy street. No one was hurt, including the dog, but my pickup had a gash and my rear tire was toast.
Pickups and people are alike — both have blind spots that can cause wrecks and carnage. The reason they are called blind spots is because we are blind to them. If we knew our weaknesses, I am assuming we would work to fix them and not continue to hurt the people around us. The problem is we have imperfect mirrors. How do we get these honest and seeing eyes in order to avoid the inevitable crashes?
1. Ask God
I promise he wants to show us if we will simply ask and listen. We do this well when we are young pastors and leaders because we are well aware, in most cases, that we need to learn and grow. The problem is for those of us who are more experienced. We are the ones who get asked to mentor leaders and teach others from our vast vault of experience. We stop growing along the away because we stop asking God to show us our blind spots. We become experts and stop being students.
2. Ask others
When was the last time you asked those you influence if your leadership was frustrating them? This takes a great deal of security to admit that you may not be perfect and that you still want to grow. The first few times you ask this question, don’t expect an honest answer. But, over time, they will begin to trust your motives and give you the input that may salvage your influence with them. Sparks will fly, tension will fill the room, but all of us will become sharper. The irony is, the sharper our swords become, the less dangerous we are to the people around us.