Christian living

Monovision and Single Vision

I told the eye doctor recently that I had quit wearing my contacts because I was starting to have difficulty reading for extended periods of time. I have been nearsighted for years, but have 20/15 vision with corrective lenses and no problem reading without. As with most persons hitting their forties, however, my eyes are losing the ability to compensate for my contacts when I try to read something close to hand.

He asked me if I wanted to try monovision; that is, using different contacts so that one eye is able to see distant objects and the other is able to see near objects. He told me most people’s minds are able to adjust to this situation and quickly learn to trust the dominant eye for seeing distance and the other eye for reading. It sounded strange, but I decided to try it. After all, it would be half the price since I only need the one contact for distance vision!

I wore the one contact for several days. While it was true that I didn’t notice the duality all the time, I continued to have difficulty seeing mid-distance, especially in lower light levels, and night driving didn’t work at all because oncoming lights were doubled—one in focus and one out of focus. My doctor finally decided that I was one of the 20% or so who can’t adjust to monovision because I’ve always accepted input from both eyes.

This experience made me start to wonder how many live a spiritual life of monovision, with one eye focused on the will of God but the other still focused on the world and self? How many are able to rationalize the conflicting information, picking and choosing what they want to see? Is it really so easy to accept the duality of data to create one’s own “unified vision” of truth?

While many can and do attempt it, ultimately this is a futile act. James the brother of Jesus condemned the “double-minded man” as “unstable in all he does” (1:8); Jesus himself told us we “cannot serve two masters” (Matt 6:24); and the Apostle Paul warned we cannot partake from the “table of the Lord” and the “table of demons” (1 Cor 10:21).

Certainly if you attempted monovision, you could recognize the clearly evil and the clearly good, just as my mind was able to see clearly the distant and near objects. But where I had difficulty with monovision was with mid-distance as well as night vision. This is precisely where a life of spiritual monovision would have difficulty—knowing the right from the wrong as you enter the many gray areas of life. What you truly need is not monovision but single vision, that is seeking God with your whole heart. Only singleness of vision can help you make the right decision in those realms of gray.

As the Lord said through his prophets: “Seek me and live; do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba” (Amos 5:4-5a). That is, get rid of the monovision and set your vision upon the Lord. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13) Only singleness of vision will help you truly find the Lord and his will. If you “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” Jesus tells us, then “all these things”–that is, what is right for the world and for yourself–“will be given to you as well” (Matt 6:33)

Father, help us seek you with all of our hearts.

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