Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mirror

When Christian believers gather in churches, everything that can go wrong sooner or later does. Outsiders, on observing this, conclude that there is nothing to the religion business except, perhaps, business--and dishonest business at that. Eugene Peterson (The Message: Commentary introduction to the book of James)

Those who hear and don’t act are like those who
glance in the mirror; walk away, and two minutes
later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

James 1:24 (The Message)

Looking in a mirror at oneself isn’t always pleasant. I remember when my daughter was a toddler she loved looking at her reflection in the glass, in mirrors, anything that confirmed what she looked like. Her reflection was comforting and she saw nothing “wrong” with the image. What I noticed was, as she got older, she began to see herself with a more critical eye. Now she has joined my ranks where she only looks at herself in the mirror, in the morning, with her eyes barely open!

Using the Bible as a mirror to reflect our lives becomes a minefield. Much like walking away from our physical image we pick and choose which “images” in the Bible we want to reflect. There’s comfort in the reflection that we are loved by God, but, the image grows harsher when we read that our enemies deserve love as well. Being forgiven is so appreciated, until what is reflected back is that we first must speak our sin. It is so much easier to ignore it.

There are indeed sticky parts of the Bible, with emphasis on sticky! Like running into a spider web, we find it difficult to shake off the Biblical truths that we don’t like. Loving each other sounds like Shangri-La until the “other” wrongs us and instead of “going to your brother” (Matthew 18:15) you go to everyone but him and their tongues continue the fire.

Hearing and acting takes an effort of one’s will. God cannot make us “do” anything but he has given us a mirror that reflects how we are doing!

Jesus, help me to look into your mirror
and see not only how I look now, but
the image you desire to see.

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