Blinders are a piece of horse tack that prevents the horse from seeing to the rear, and in some cases, to the side. They are made of leather or plastic cups which are placed on either side of a horse’s eyes. Racehorse trainers believe that blinders keep horses focused on what is in front of them, encouraging them to pay attention to the race rather than to distractions such as crowds.

There is Good News and bad news. The bad news is blinders keep us from seeing those around us who are hurting and need us to show and tell them about the love Jesus has for them. The Good News is, blinders can keep us focused on God and His Good News and the need to share it.

God created us with our eyes in the front of our heads, pointing forward. While I know that some moms have the gift of having eyes in the back of their head, it is not a physical reality. Plus we were created with our feet pointing forward. Also, have you noticed that the windshield of your car is much bigger than the rear view mirror? I believe all of these means that God intended us to keep moving forward and not looking behind. Don’t keep looking to the past, it does you no good to live it more than once. Sometimes once was hard enough. Why would you want to put yourself through that pain again?

Spiritually, blinders can refer to people who have an overly narrow focus or inability to see the larger picture.

According to the American Vision Institute, our eyes have peripheral vision. The ability to see the outer bounds and broader area than just directly in front of us. The brain observes the world using peripheral vision. It determines the relative position of the object and computes the trajectory and power needed to move the eyes to point directly at it. The brain then directs the extraocular muscles to move the eyes to look at the object and then focus on it.

A current problem that has now arisen is that people spend so much time looking at their screens, whether on their phone or computer, that their peripheral vision literally fades away and they end up with tunnel vision. Tunnel vision can also be caused by extreme fear or distress, which creates a survival response, fight or flight, causing you to focus on that which is directly in front of you.

You become so focused on the little screen in your hand, you are not aware of what is going on around you. You’ve lost your ability to see using your peripheral vision and thereby step right out in front of a moving car. Life is short enough. You need to remove the blinders!

A study was conducted to see if how we feel affects how we see. Taylor Schmitz of the Affect and Cognition Laboratory at the University of Toronto and his colleagues hypothesized that positive emotional states would broaden the field of view, whereas negative states would have the opposite effect. Their results published in the Journal of Neuroscience, provided the first direct evidence that the mood we are in affects the way we see things by the modulation the activity of the visual cortex, thereby increasing the broadness of our view.

Positive moods enhance peripheral vision while negative moods decrease it, giving you tunnel vision. A negative mood, such as fear or sadness, causes one’s attention to be focused on specific details, at the expense of information in the periphery. On the other hand, positive emotions broaden the scope of the field of vision, leading to increased breadth of attention. The study showed that positive moods do so by directly modulation of the visual system so that we can gain access to more information, and increase awareness. Which in turn encourages novel thoughts, increases creativity, and inventiveness. It helps us to think and see outside of the box.

So encouragement is what is needed. God encourages us. (see Ps. 10:17) We need to do so with one another. In fact we are commanded to do so. “Therefore encourage each other…” (1 Thes 4:18 [NIV])

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…” (Heb 3:13 [NIV]) “But let us encourage one another…” (Heb 10:25 [NIV])

God who created us, knows the science behind His creations. So let us expand the vision of those we come in contact with daily encouragement. We will help them see more, increase their creativity and inventiveness. With a simple act of encouragement, we change the world from tunnel vision to heavenly vision! We can help them change from an overly narrow focus or inability to see the larger picture, to seeing the world in wonder. I want my encouragement to magnify Jesus in the eyes of others. To enlarge Him in fact and in appearance. To cause Him to be held in greater esteem. I magnify You, O Lord. I exalt Your name for You are great and highly to be praised. “Magnify the marvels of your mercy to all who seek you.” (Ps. 17:7 [TPT])

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you to.” (Eph. 1:18 [NIV])

We can make a difference and make the world a better place, one simple kindness at a time. I can literally see you doing this with me!

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