I’m reading a memoir by John Elder Robison who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism at the age of forty. He describes undergoing an experimental treatment called TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) which gave him (temporarily) the ability to see feelings in others, a quality missing from his life due to his disability. Instead of taking everything others said literally, he began to notice sarcasm, depression, hurt feelings, etc.. Looking back on his life he says, “I now recognize that many of the events went wrong because I failed to understand someone else’s feelings. … When I remember things I said or did, I cringe and wish I could go back in time and undo my blunders…Knowing what I did wrong is not enough to undo a lifetime of learned behavior, and my tendency to behave the same way is still strong. Yet I’m doing my best to change.” He described his experience as being “Switched On”, the title of his book.
When we are spiritually reborn, a similar phenomenon occurs. Just as John became aware of his lack of empathy, we become aware of our sinful nature. However, like John recognizing our problem doesn’t mean we can reverse what we’ve already done or even eliminate it in the future. It just means we now see (somewhat) what’s going on.
I believe in the days of the second coming, we’ll be “switched on” completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says,
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then, face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Right now, we’re all like John Robison when it comes to sin. It is so much a part of us and every other person in the world, we fail to see how deeply it mars our lives. When we’re resurrected in the last day, we’ll understand what made so much go wrong in our lives and in our world; we’ll also see ourselves and others in a new way: without that veil of sin that distorts everything. We’ll be disheartened by how we behaved, the sins we committed without even understanding what we were doing.
The good news for Christians is we’ll also see Christ as He really is: our king, our master, our savior. At that moment our dismay will be replaced by joy because
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither shall there be mourning or crying nor pain …” Revelation 21:4
I look forward to being “switched on” when Jesus comes again. I hope you do, too!