It’s difficult to recognize how bad a situation is when we’ve been in the middle of it for a long time. We easily get used to unpleasant things. We look past distasteful sights. Our noses adapt to unpleasant odors. We just get used to things and forget how bad things are even though the evidence is all around us. I was reading one of Kyriacos Markides’ insightful books and he used an example that struck me as powerful.
He talked about our unawareness of human sinfulness, and how we don’t realize how truly bad it is until we get out of it. He compared it to leaving a smog filled city and going up to the mountains where the air is clean and clear and pure. From the top of the mountain, you can look down on the city you just left and see the pollution you were living in. From the top of the mountain you can experience what life is like free of pollution (well, relatively free of pollution). And when you go back to the city, you can tell people about your experience. You can encourage them to step outside of the pollution, even for just a moment, to better appreciate and understand the reality they live in.
We should be people who have been to the mountain top and seen the view of sin from above. We should be people who understand how difficult it is for others to see the sin of the world when they have lived in it and gotten used to it. Most of all, we should be people who desperately want others to go up to the mountaintop so that they too might realize the truth of the human condition.