“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”(Acts 3:1-3)
It may sound like a typical nerdy question when you ask someone, “If you could have any superpower you wanted, what would it be?” I’ve asked this question so many times to young adults as like an ice-breaker to get a conversation going. And the superpower that most of them have said is – INVISIBILITY. But why this superpower out of all them?
I had a careful think about this question this week after I watched the first Guardians of the Galaxy. And I came to a possible conclusion. No one can see you. You’re there but not there. You could be in the same room with someone, standing inches away from them and they would never realise it. If they wanted to, they could reach out and touch you – but why would they? They wouldn’t know you were there! You could do tons of random acts of kindness, but no one would see you and it would look like magic. But you could also abuse it… it would be very easy to rob a bank and be totally unnoticed.
In movies, invisibility is portrayed as this awesome superpower where the superhero can disappear to protect themselves from getting hurt, reappearing on the other side of the room completely unharmed. But imagine if that character was always invisible. How could they connect with anyone? How could they make friends? How could they live a happy life if no one could ever see them? The answer is they wouldn’t. The only reason this superpower is cool in films, is that it can be turned on and off whenever the superhero wants it to. It may be fun to not be seen every so often, but I assure you that a whole life of invisibility is no superpower at all.
To BE invisible in movies = POWER
To FEEL invisible in life = PAIN
What does the Bible say?
This blog post all stemmed from a Bible passage I had read last week, being Acts 3:1-3, which talked about an invisible beggar. Consider a few things about life for this man. He was lame; couldn’t walk or stand. What this really meant was he sat on the floor ever single day, begging for small change. All day. It also reminded me of a homeless person sat outside Sainsburys. Everyday tons of people walk past them and ignore them, not even offering them a smile, pretending that they don’t exist. A smile can do so much more than people realise. A person once taught me to never ignore a homeless person, they are still human beings. If you are asked for money and don’t have any, to acknowledge their presence, politely say no thanks and smile. In this passage, this guy was treated as invisible constantly.
I think many of us can relate to this beggar more than we think we do. We aren’t homeless or lame but we can feel invisible. Sometimes it can self-inflicted – we try to be invisible to cope with out own thoughts, feelings and emotions. But being invisible can leave us sad and upset. I know too well. I am quite a shy, introverted guy who likes to keep things to myself, avoiding confrontation. So staying invisible sometimes works for me. But being invisible all the time doesn’t. I have hid myself away in the past at the lowest points, thinking that it’s been the best for myself when really I had needed to be visible. A feeling of community when times have been tough.
How can I take off my cloak of invisibility?
What can I do? Why should I live as a visible person? Once we look up like the beggar did in Acts, we’ll be more sensitive to the people with their heads still down. We’ll get the opportunity to be like Peter and John and engage with the downcast. This is a whole life thing, whether you are in school or work, at the supermarket, or even walking down the street…And this is why I would never choose invisibility as my superpower!
Don’t Fear, Only Believe
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