Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#6: Look Who’s Nearsighted

A Character story about kindness.

Mr. Jensen had just settled in his favorite chair to read the paper when he heard from the hall, "You stop it, Jason Jensen!" Then a door slammed and muffled crying followed. Jason came strolling into the living room, scratching his head.
"Boy, is she touchy," he said as he slouched into a chair across the room.
"What seems to be the trouble?" Mr. Jensen asked.
"Oh, it's nothing. I was just teasing Sis about her new glasses and she got miffed about it."
"And what were you saying to her?" Mr. Jensen inquired.
Jason shrugged. "All I said was, 'Look who's here. It's old four eyes.'" That's all I said. Honest."
Mr. Jensen looked disappointed. "I would say that was enough. Sit down here, Son. I want to share something with you." Jason moved to a chair nearer his dad.
"Jason," Mr. Jensen began, "Do you know why Julie has to wear glasses?"
"Well, I guess 'cause the doctor said she had to."
"Yes, but do you know what problem she has that is corrected with glasses?"
Jason shook his head. "Well, your sister has myopia," Mr. Jensen continued.
"Really? That sounds serious. Is it contagious?" Jason asked with alarm.
Mr. Jensen smiled. "No. That's just the technical term for nearsightedness. This simply means that the light entering her eyeball is focusing in front of the retina - that's the name for the area on the back of the eyeball. The result of this is that things up close are in focus OK but distant objects are blurry. She really doesn't need the glasses for reading but it is easier to just keep them on all the time."
"So what do glasses do that help that problem?" Jason inquired.
"The lenses in her new glasses are concave - that means they are thinner in the middle than on the edge. This bends the light out some before it enters the eye and makes it focus on the retina where it should."
"Huh," Jason said. "That's neat. I guess it isn't as serious as it sounds. Just a piece of glass corrects the whole thing."
"For her, yes," Mr. Jensen agreed, "but I know someone else who has another kind of myopia and glasses won't help it a bit."
"Really? Who?"
"Do you remember what Julie said when she came home from the eye doctor last week? When she found she had to have glasses, what was her biggest concern?"
Jason thought a minute. "She was afraid what the other kids would say to her and if they would laugh at her."
"Right," Mr. Jensen agreed. "And if you remember how many times she mentioned it, you would realize just how important that was to her. Instead of being the first one to tease her about it, what might have been a better approach?"
"But I didn't mean anything by it. I wasn't trying to hurt her," Jason protested.
"I know that, Son. But I'm afraid you had spiritual myopia. You were doing what you felt like without considering what hurt your words would cause. In other words, you could see only what you wanted to do, and were not seeing the needs of others, in this case, your sister."
Jason looked down at the floor without responding. Mr. Jensen continued. "Peter said something about this in the Bible. Let me read it to you." Mr. Jensen grabbed the Bible next to his chair and paged through it for a moment. "Here it is in Second Peter chapter one and verse nine. It says that someone who doesn't add brotherly kindness and love to his life, 'cannot seen afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.' Do you think you forgot how much it hurts when people laugh at you?"
Jason was silent a few moments. Then he said, "Lots of the kids at school fight with their brothers and sisters. I've always been glad that Sis and I are friends. I guess I really blew it by not thinking before I talked. What do you think I can do about it?"
Mr. Jensen smiled. "Well, like I said, glasses don't help that kind of nearsightedness. However, God promises to give grace to the humble, and that grace is His ability to act as Jesus would."
"Well," Jason said rising from his seat, "I know what that means. And I won't put it off. I'll ask Sis if she will forgive me for being ... well, nearsighted and hurting her with my words."
"Atta boy, Son. When you get that cleared up, I know that God will help you be more sensitive to others in the future."
"Thanks, Dad," Jason said with a smile, and marched off in the direction of Julie's room.