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Posts Tagged ‘mirror’

Photo by Kimberly Kinrade

If hearing the word is like looking in a mirror at oneself, then it must be familiar when it’s happening. I look at myself and I recognize who it is. In the same way, I must be able to recognize truth. But then . . .

James 1:23-24
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

The idea of turning around and forgetting my own image is disturbing. But isn’t it true? How often I see photographs of myself and I am shocked by the person reflected. When did that happen? The other day I did a video spot and found my neck was doing a great Katherine Hepburn impression. Maybe, what I see in a mirror is not the whole truth after all.

But that sends me off point. What I’m really trying to catch is the idea of recognizing truth in one moment and then forgetting it the next. This happens to me every day. Writing echoes to the scriptures, as I do here, is the same.

I have epiphanies and revelations as I contemplate the word, pray, and write. I hit on a crucial truth, a flowering, a rush; and then I grab my bags, get into the car, go to work and I am someone else. I am the habit woman. I have already forgotten what I saw, what I learned, what I felt.

For a season, I was quite faithful at praying the hours, but I have lost the steady practice in recent weeks. I understand why this ritual has value though, it makes me stop what I was doing, just for eight minutes, and regroup around the Holy Spirit. It was a time to remember, to reconnect, to look into the mirror of the word.

Oh Lord, forgive me. This verse is me. Teach me how to carry your reflected truth with me throughout the night . . . throughout the day.

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John 14:16
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth…”

Why do we seek counsel? Isn’t it usually to determine some truth in a matter?

There are lots of opinions about truth and it gets particularly dicey when we add adjectives to the word. For instance: absolute truth, subjective truth, universal truth, relative truth, or objective truth (just to name the big ones). I have even seen truth parlayed with just an article or a preposition, like “the” truth, or “a” truth, or “some” truth.

If you want to read more about truth, just check out Wikipedia for an extensive list of “theories” about truth, written by an equally long list of philosophers.

I don’t think I can compete with any of these definitions or understandings. I am neither a theologian nor a philosopher. I just like the idea that truth is a counselor. When I am confused or conflicted, I am being promised here that truth will be help me sort things out. And according to Jesus, Truth lives with me and within me.

Truth asks the hard questions. Truth guides my thoughts. Truth is my mirror. Truth listens. Truth is playful. Truth is orderly. Truth accepts where I am today but hopes for a better tomorrow. Truth knows the worst of me and never turns away. Truth is in the revelation business and the “Aha!” moment: like now.

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Luke 22:55-57
But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

When Peter denied Christ in the courtyard, each denial escalated. First he denied knowing Jesus, then he denied being among the disciples and finally, he even denied being a Galilean. Sometimes, it takes this progression before we encounter the mirror of Christ.

I struggle with bad eating habits every day. As a result, my weight and well being are doing a ying-yang every few weeks. In the end, the culprit is in my head. It’s where the denial starts. I’ll have “one” cookie or “one” piece of candy, then later, I’ll be tired or feel cranky and therefore I “deserve” a treat, perhaps a granola bar (almost healthy) or two and by evening, I might as well have a quesadilla with chips, salsa, and guacamole since I’ve already blown it for the day (dare I mention the late night ice cream snack?).

Another example is my failed commitment to stay in touch with my distant relatives in Estonia and Germany. I have promised to call them and email regularly, but the day comes and goes and the call is not made, the email is not written and soon, so much time has passed that it feels too embarrassing to call or write at all. It’s a vicious cycle really.

This same progression can happen anywhere and anytime. It can happen with our prayer times, our reading, our plans to reach out to others, to attend church, to visit a friend… it doesn’t matter. One denial will lead to another. One lie will create another. One deception will birth another.

We’ll never know what would have happened if Peter had not denied Jesus that fateful night. Peter had projected out what he thought would happen… he feared for his life. How often do we project a false scenario of the future to justify our actions and decisions?

Today, I pray, let me not wait and deny the truth. Give me courage to face my self-betrayals and bring them into the Light of Christ.

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Luke 22:48
… but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Jesus often taught by asking questions, similar to Socrates. In this case, as a crowd came to the Mt. of Olives to arrest him, Jesus asked Judas to “see” himself, much like in a mirror.

More times than I would like to confess, I catch myself charging along with an idea and while caught up in the midst of it, I lose sight of myself and I lose sight of the big picture. What I really need is someone who can gently hold up a mirror to me. In some cases, I have been fortunate and a friend or a colleague at work have taken on the challenge. But more often, I am too “busy” to look. And so, it is only Jesus who can step in and reveal my truth. Sometimes, these revelations are painful. Sometimes, the damage has been done and all I can do is confess, ask forgiveness and move on. Sometimes, there is still time to step back, regroup, and correct my course.

The first time I married, I was only 18, but I thought I knew everything! I wanted to be out from under my mother’s authority. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. There was no stopping those plans. My mirror did not rise up until I was walking down the aisle. And then I saw with complete clarity that I was making a huge mistake. It was not because the man was unkind or unloving or unworthy. It was because of me and my motives. Like Judas, really, I betrayed my first husband by continuing to walk down that aisle. I did not have the courage to stop and turn around (to be a “runaway bride’). Of course, I didn’t know anything about the way of Jesus back then either.

Jesus, be my mirror today. Show me my motives before I act thoughtlessly. Guard my tongue.

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