The Merciful Mirror

If we dare to look into Scripture, we will see ourselves. But that’s not all we will see.
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“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

-Evil Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

My Dad used to tell a joke about having his picture taken. He said when he went to the photographer he didn’t ask for justice, he asked for mercy. In other words, the less the photo looked like him, the better ; )

But usually, for better or worse, pictures do tell the truth. They are accurate representations of us (unless, of course, they’ve been airbrushed).

It’s the same with mirrors. They give us an objective view of ourselves. They show us not what we think we are, or what others say we are, but what we really are.

This can be a little painful.

It was James, the half-brother of Jesus, who used the analogy of a mirror to help us understand what it is happening when we look into the Bible…we see our reflection.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” -James 1:22-24

James’ point is that God’s Word gives us a glimpse of ourselves. It shows us those areas where we’re good, but also those places where we’re not so good. It affirms our faith and hope, but it also exposes ugly things like selfishness, pride, and idolatry. What happens next is up to us.

In reading through the book of Judges recently, I saw a startling reflection. I read about a scenario that resembles what’s happening today in our post-modern culture. How so? Check out this phrase and see if it sounds familiar:

“…all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Judges 17:6

In other words, the people had abandoned moral and ethical standards and were living without the safety of boundaries. They had canceled truth. They had ditched God and any expectations He might have of them.

Do you see the similarity to our day? It’s pretty hard to miss. It should compel each of us to ask ourselves, “Is this the way I am living?” “As if anything goes?”

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But thankfully, when we read Scripture we don’t just see ourselves for who we really are. We also see God for who He really is and who we become when we place our faith in His Son, Jesus. Yes, it will show us the reality of our brokenness, but if we keep looking, we will also see God and His never-quit love for people. We will see His patience, His holiness, His readiness to forgive, and His ultimate power over all things.

And we will see His grace that makes it possible for us to see ourselves differently. Where before all we could see was sin and despair, now we can see forgiveness, hope, and redemption. In Christ, our reflection changes. His righteousness becomes ours so that we need not be afraid to look into the mirror anymore.

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 

Ephesians 1:6-7

Dare we look into the mirror of God’s Word? Yes, without hesitation, for in that mirror is where we will see who we truly are. And in that mirror we will see the kindness and mercy of a good God looking back at us.

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.

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