I once was blind but now I am woked

Written by on September 3, 2020

By David Zuccolotto, Op-ed Contributor

Being woke, awakened or enlightened is a regular headline in American culture.

Dr. David Zuccolotto is a former pastor and clinical psychologist. | Courtesy of David Zuccolotto

“Woke” is a powerful word. It not only has social dominance (bordering on threat), but assumes the foolishness of anyone who is unawoke. No one wants to be unenlightened and ignorant! So either be woke or a fool walking in darkness.

What if you don’t want to be woked? What if your preconceived beliefs prevent wokeness?

When I was a young psychology intern my supervisor once said, “Most people who come for therapy already know what they want, they are just looking for affirmation.”

In my 35 year career I have found this to be generally true. We want someone to affirm our passions, beliefs and values. People say they are “opened minded” but there is always a line in the sand when anything gets too close to an opposing value we hold dear. Putting aside one’s personal passions, desires and wants is an enormous challenge, regardless of reason. We don’t woke easily.

Search the internet for the psychology of reason, bias and how we change our minds.

Thousands of research papers and books demonstrate how personal bias dictates what is reasonable and how we see truth through those biases.

Evolutionary psychologists believe reason was used to advocate for survival. What was reasonable is what promoted the “survival of the fittest.“

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All of these theories have a common thread: something is reasonable if it supports our survival, will and desires. Something is “reasonable” when it fits how we see and assume life should be.

When I myself became a supervisor I told psychology interns, “If you’re in this business to change people you need to get out now. Your job is to provide tools for change. Only the individual can change their heart and mind.”

Reason won’t woke you unless you want to be awakened.

Here is Christ’s take on our willingness for wokeness:

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (John 9:39-41)

The Pharisees didn’t come to Jesus to be woked. They simply wanted him to reinforce their own wokeness and affirm the Mosaic law. Their assumptions created a spiritual blindness, overriding anything Jesus said.

Something may be true, but unless the heart is ready and willing, truth has no awakening power, not even if it comes from God.

So how do you woke the will? How do you change a heart?

Riots? Threat? Fear? Economic disaster? Maybe money, power or prosperity?

Maybe it’s whatever is best for the common good? But who gets to decide what is “best?”

Do you want to be woked by Democrats or Republicans?

The truth is you are already woked. You already “see.” You are simply looking for a speech that reinforces your desires. And you speak what is already decided in the heart:

“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.“ (Matthew 12:34)

It is not what is spoken, shouted or threatened that changes a heart. But the heart that changes and is receptive to what is spoken.

For those who call on Jesus Christ as savior, only a broken heart will open your ears is to his message.

Consider these words:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

“I have not come to call the righteous (the woked), but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

Wokeness is a heart experience broken by the weight and burden of sin. A desperation for healing.  A freedom from life’s cruelty, hopelessness and destruction of the mind and spirit. An insatiable thirst for God’s holiness and the grace found in the cross of Christ.

As Jesus said, it is when you become blind (to your will) that you will be woked to his.

Dr. David Zuccolotto is a former pastor and clinical psychologist. For 35 years he has worked for hospitals, addiction treatment centers, outpatient clinics and private practice. He is the author of The Love of God: A 70 Day Journey of Forgiveness. 

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