In Henry James’ turn-of-the-century novel, Washington Square, we meet a young woman of ordinary intellect and average appearance named Catherine Sloper. From society’s perspective all she has going for her is the rather large inheritance left to her by her mother, and the prospect of a second one because her still-living father is a physician.
As you might imagine, Dr. Sloper is thus quite skeptical when a young man named Morris Townsend calls upon young Catherine. So convinced is the doctor that Morris is what we’d call a gold-digger that he uses every weapon in his arsenal to keep her from marrying him, from confronting Morris’ family to ridiculing his daughter and even threatening to cut Catherine out of his will.
So blinded is Dr. Sloper by his own sense of rightness—that his investigation is thorough and his conclusion incontrovertible—that he could easily justify his harsh treatment of his faithful, loving daughter.
It is indeed tragic what a person’s blindness allows them to justify—especially when they are blinded by their supposed spirituality, for it lets them justify anything.
Listen to God’s surprising response to the blindness of His religious people—and find hope again in the love that never comes to an end.
Text: Isaiah 29