Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Mirror and the Open Window

I smashed a mirror tonight.

I set it up, grabbed a baseball bat and swung it right into the middle.

And it shattered into a million pieces (And it was Awesome!)

Mirrors are interesting things. Their whole purpose is to let us stare at ourselves. When I stare at a mirror, the one thing that becomes the focus of my vision is me. I am all that I see.

One thing I notice when I look in a mirror is my imperfections. I see the gut. I see the teeth that aren't quite straight. I see the zit that has no business being on a 28 year-old's face. Ear hair? WTF?

Other times I see the good things. Yes, I am a handsome man. My hair looks pretty good when it is short. If I was a girl I would be attracted to me.

And I want to know if it is possible that for most of us, myself included, the mirror has become the lens through which we view the world?

When I enter a new situation, am I looking at my imperfections? Do I see the ways that I am inadequate? Because I often find myself saying and doing things that are an attempt to make me look good. Like I need to prove myself to the people I am with. I will put someone else down (even someone who I know works their butt off to do what they do) because it makes me feel better.

In some sick way the people I am with have become tools to get me what I want. They have something I want and I will do what it takes to get it. It could be praise. It could be respect. It could be a job. It could be sex. But they have it and I want it.

Because I am looking into a mirror.

I also will enter a new situation and find all the ways I am better than the people there. I have managed to convince myself that I am smarter or better looking or more talented and that these people have nothing to offer me.

In some sick way the people I am with have become obstacles or threats. I can't associate with them because they are beneath me. Why would I waste my time there?

Because I am looking into a mirror.

All I can see is me. My wants. My needs. My goals. My desires. My hopes. My fears. My insecurities. My pain. Me, me, me.

I am starting to see the ways that this general posture towards the world is death. How much evil has been done in the world because people decided that their own needs were more important than the needs of others?

And I think that the worst way we do this is when we do it with God.

This is called religion.

Religion is viewing God through our mirror. We see our imperfections so we have to prove ourselves to God. So we do good. We go to church. We read our Bible. But it is all based out of guilt and shame. We are trying to manipulate God to like us more.

Or we think we are better than him. We think he owes us something. Or our good deeds and good works are already good enough and we don't need him at all. He can't offer us anything because we already have what we need. Submitting to him would be to lose all we have worked for.

That is what happens when God becomes all about us. Guilt, shame, fear, and arrogance.

So what is the cure? This feels like a big problem.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

Humility. Humility is the cure.

Not thinking less of ourselves. But thinking of ourselves less. A humble person is able to care about the people around them. A humble person does not see the world through a mirror.

A humble person uses an open window.

There is only what is on the other side. They can see the people and the world outside. There is nothing getting in the way of them seeing, knowing, and responding to the needs of others around them.

An open window has no reflection.

But if there is no reflection, how will we know what we look like? How will we see the imperfections? How will we know when we look good?

We are going to have to trust someone else's opinion of us.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
-Romans 5:8

It would seem that this is God's opinion of us: We are sinners. We have rejected God by focusing on ourselves. We have brought sin, division, destruction, and death into the world.

And yet Christ dies for us because of his great love.

What would happen if we started trusting his opinion of us?

What if every day I reminded myself that I was a sinner saved by the amazing grace and love of God? And what if I began to see that everyone else was exactly the same?

What if I let Jesus smash my mirror? What if I stopped filling my vision with myself and began looking out the window to where Jesus was leading?

Well now that would change everything wouldn't it?

I would be free to love people because I knew I was loved.
I could be someone's friend not because I needed a friend (I already have the best one possible with Jesus) but because THEY needed a friend.
I could lay my life down for someone else's sake because someone laid down their life for me.

I pray that you will let Jesus smash your mirror.
I pray that you will trust his opinion of you.
I pray that you will follow him out the open window into his beautiful world where he is inviting you into life and life abundant.

So tonight I literally took a mirror and smashed it with a bat. I don't believe in seven years of bad luck.

I believe I just took a step into grace.

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