Mirrors can be powerful instruments. They can help us to see ourselves as we get ready to meet the world. They can help us to identify our “trouble areas” and see where we might need to work on things. There is a problem though. It would seem that too many of us have cloudy mirrors. We do not actually see our real reflection. We instead see what we want to see staring back in the mirror.
How can that be? We seem to have no trouble seeing others. We seem to have no problem making judgments about other people…the way they dress, the way they did their hair, the way they carry themselves. We have no trouble identifying others imperfections. And often, we wonder if they looked in the mirror before they walked out of the house. We wonder if there mirror was more than cloudy. After all…we would never leave the house looking like THAT.
But maybe it’s not our mirror at all that is the problem. I don’t think it is our eyesight. That can be a problem as we age, but I’m thankful for glasses to help us along. I don’t think it is the size of our mirror or where it is in our house. The problem is with us.
There is a Bible verse that has always been difficult for me. It is in the book of James, chapter 1. James is writing how believers should be people of action, be a part of the game…not just sitting on the sidelines waiting for others to do the work. That’s a difficult enough statement. But, he continues to say that those who sit on the sidelines are like those who see themselves in a mirror. When they walk away, they immediately forget what they look like. As I have read this scripture, I always thought…how does someone forget what they look like. Sometimes we might want to forget what we look like…we all have those “rough” days. But, how do we forget?
And it dawned on me…That’s the answer…that’s how our view in the mirror becomes so skewed. We can be so focused on what other people are doing (or not doing)…we can be constantly criticize or judge…we can point out the faults of everyone else… That we forget who we are…or we create this image of how good or bad we are that isn’t even real. We forget that we are to be people who are of action. We forget to take a good long look at ourselves and what we are doing. If we, as Christians, spent as much time working for God…focusing on what he wants us to do…rather than being critical of everyone around us…we might actually see change happen.
That image in the mirror might actually become clearer. We might see the beautiful creation made and fashioned by God staring at us in the mirror. And that beautiful creation is not only fashioned by God, but created for a purpose. Our purpose is not to judge everyone else…but rather to do as we are called and created.
It is true that we can only change ourselves…and to change the world, it begins with me. Maybe today, I wipe that mirror clean and begin to take a long, hard look at me. How has God created and fashioned me to do his work? What am I doing for him? How am I living? What message am I sending? How am I loving my neighbor? How am I living out what Jesus taught?
May we stop at the mirror today, truly see ourselves as beautiful and created by God, and walk away serving others… Loving God and loving our neighbor…regardless of what they look like.