As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
A good part of what we do in front of the mirror and in front of others as well, is to put on makeup and cover-up whatever we’re unable to accept. Something similar happens in our day to day life as well, in front of the mirror of the Word.
Mirrors are one of those objects that have the ability to awaken both great passion and great hatred in people. How we feel in relation to mirrors depends on the type of relationship that we have with them. There are some who enjoy looking at their reflection. They delight in their virtues and their attractive parts (even though it’s not politically correct to acknowledge that). On the other end of the scale, there are those who always prefer to look the other way, to shy away from their own reflection. The mirror just seems to draw attention to whatever they don’t like or whatever they’re embarrassed about. And no-one likes to be there.
When the process for this articles began, “The Mirror” initial thoughts were that the reflections would lead more in the direction of considering certain aspects about ourselves. The planned focus was that of being able to undertake the complex search of self-examination, to sincerely consider both the good and bad that defines us as people, and more particularly as believers.
We continue in this direction, although undoubtedly it will be a difficult exercise since, if there’s anything that we regularly do, it’s try to cover over our defects. That means that a good part of what we do in front of the mirror, and as a result, in front of others as well, is to put on makeup and cover-up whatever we’re unable to accept. Something similar happens in our day to day life as well, in front of the mirror of the Word.
Not for nothing are we Christians called to also look at ourselves in its pages. That’s how it should be, as we consider how God sees us compared with the very different way that we view ourselves. It’s rare for His Word to leave us unmoved since, just like Adam and Eve, David and so many others, when faced with our errors and sin before a God such as ours, we don’t have anywhere to hide.
How complicated it is for us to recognise our defects and the many things we still have left to do. We are called to conform more and more to the image of Christ, to look at ourselves in Him, to wonder at how distinct we are, yet at the same time to see how vast His grace is for us.
On some occasions we discover how we are when we’re faced with the reality of a particular sin, one of those that we swore we would never do. It surprises us, without needing to dig too deep, how much we resist accepting that we are really like that. Here different defence mechanisms are put into place and we try to justify ourselves, to give explanations for the inexplicable, to look the other way every time our reality reminds us and reaffirms the way that we are… because we continually prefer to think that we’re good, in spite of the fact that the Bible reminds us that we’re not and that the only reason why we’re viewed differently is due to Someone righteous having paid the price that, in God’s eyes, put a wonderful filter between us and God.
However, when faced with this discovery of imperfection and darkness within us, even if it’s just for a millisecond, reality becomes more accessible and we are more open to confirm what we don’t want to accept. The facts speaks for themselves and all that remains is for us to accept the hard reality: that we are selfish, vane, ambitious, liars, permissive, greedy, lazy, shirking our responsibilities, at times deeply wicked, repeating our mistakes… and always reluctant to accept that, and nothing else, as our reality.
Could it be that in spite of having surrendered to Christ, in spite of all our Biblical theology, wisdom and detailed knowledge that we continue to think that there is something good in us? Could it be that perhaps we hold on to the illusion that something about us is worthy? Could that be the reason why time after time we’re overly surprised when we discover a “dropped stitch” in our clothes, when we discover that our own garments are those of beggars and that any royal clothes that we enjoy or have discovered have only been given to us by grace? Does it not produce in you, as it produces in me, a high level of disappointment when that happens?
When such circumstances continue to surprise us, when we recognise ourselves in some of what’s been said, we discover for a moment just how we are. Be sure that this will keep happening but it’s better not to get used to it: our mirror has not yet finished showing us the raw truth of our imperfection and separation from the holiness of God. It’s that holiness that time after time we’re called towards, and from which we move away the same number of times, just as that man that James talks about, who looks at his face in the mirror, but quickly forgets what it was like and continues as if he hadn’t seen it. Our memory seems very short and our optimism about ourselves, increases each time. Unless we firmly believe in what the Word teaches us over and over again, that we must decrease and Christ must increase.
- What we are, is given to us.
- What we see, the good is lent to us and is always a gift that should be well administrated.
- The bad reminds us of our true being, what God came to rescue and transform by becoming flesh and through His sacrifice taking the consequences upon Himself.
- In what we prefer to ignore about ourselves, we continue to roll around in, as we attempt to be what we are not.
- In what we recognise in our lives as being vile, but we place at the foot of the cross time and time again, we come more and more closer, by grace, to the image that we aspire to be, that of Christ Himself for His glory.