The Looking Glass

Have you ever considered how often we look in mirrors? We use them to fix our hair, brush our teeth, shave our face, tie a tie, put on make-up or judge an outfit. It’s not just women; men use them with as much frequency. We use mirrors to compare ourselves to a standard. We prefer to look a certain way and check ourselves in the mirror to ensure we do. If not, we make the necessary adjustments so that we present ourselves the way we desire. We don’t just check the mirror once; we come back to it regularly.

Mirrors are everywhere. We have them in our homes, carry them in our purses and find them in many public places. They come in different sizes and types. Magnification mirrors zoom in close so that every detail is enlarged. Distortion mirrors are usually found at amusement parks in the fun house. They make things look very different than they really are.

There is yet another kind of mirror, one that shows not our physical selves but our inward selves. There are actually two types of these; a mirror of darkness and a mirror of light.

The mirror of darkness is the world’s mirror. In it we compare ourselves to others. There we may see ourselves as less than. If we do, we hate ourselves or others for what we think we lack. It’s in this mirror that we find fuel to tear down others and ourselves through self-doubt, gossip, unforgiveness, jealousy and bitterness.

At other times, the mirror of darkness misleads us into seeing ourselves as better than others. We puff up with pride and the thrill of self-delight believing that we can do anything and deserve everything. We may see a few flaws but are convinced we are good enough as we are and cover any imperfections with the makeup of deception. We tell lies, keep secrets, and do whatever it takes to keep our failings from being known.

When we look in the mirror of light- God’s holy word- we compare ourselves to Christ. In it we see ourselves as God does, as we truly are. We see that we are beautiful- beautifully and wonderfully made with a specific purpose in mind. We see our potential fulfilled through God’s power instead of our own. We don’t see ourselves as perfect, we are shown our flaws but only as the imperfections that exist in broken jars of clay.

The heavenly mirror does not elevate us. It reveals to us that all we are and all we have are gifts from the Father. Nothing, not wealth, talent, status, intellect or physical prowess comes from us or are deserved by us. As a result this mirror fuels forgiveness, encouragement and love towards others and ourselves.

It is this mirror that convicts us, exposing our hidden blemishes, our sin, to the light. As long as they remain hidden, these blemishes hinder our Christ-like development. God is continuing an ongoing work in us. Through the mirror we acknowledge our failures and present them to Him where they can be healed.

As children of the King, our standard should be Christ not others. Just as with a physical mirror, when we look into a spiritual mirror, we need make adjustments so that our lives reflect Him. As fallen people there will be times we have not bad hair days but bad heart days, days that require multiple adjustments. Yet, the more frequently we check ourselves in the mirror of light, the less extreme those adjustments need be.

When you’re checking your physical appearance, be sure to look into a realistic mirror; one that doesn’t distort what you see. The same is true with your spiritual appearance. Be sure that the mirror chosen is one that shows you what you need to see, even if its not necessarily what you want to see.

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