Sin

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…will you just tell me the truth?

So the other night, Eric and I joined the girls for some X-Box Kinect “quality bonding time”.  One of the girls thought it would be funny to video us with her iphone. And, let me tell you–it was funny. It was hilarious!  I looked ridiculous. We all laughed and it was all great fun. But when it was all over, there was one thing that nagged at me.

Why didn’t I look that fat when I looked in the mirror? When I get dressed in the morning, I often take a long look at myself. From the front…now turn to the side…and finally over my shoulder at the back.  And I will finally come to the conclusion that it’s not too bad. I mean I know I am a little overweight, but it could be worse, right? But let me tell you, that video didn’t lie. I was so mad at myself for believing the lie in the mirror.

Is it just me that wonders why the mirror shows a skinnier me than videos and pictures do? I think it’s really strange. But then I wondered– perhaps the same thing is going on in the rest of my life?

You see, when we look in a mirror, we often see what we want to see. We can rationalize and ignore and talk ourselves into almost anything. But when someone else comes and takes a “picture” of us–well, that is when we see the ugly truth.

Has that ever happened to you?  I know it has to me. I will be rolling along, looking pretty good to myself in my spiritual mirror. And then, quite suddenly, my husband or my children will show me my true self, either by lovingly confronting me or, more often, by getting in my {selfish} way.  Or perhaps someone will need something that I could sacrificially give and I am confronted squarely in the face with what I truly look like when it comes to care and compassion.  And then I see my true self– the one that still has so far to go.

And while I don’t usually like it, I find that, if I can put off my initial defensive response and really think about what I see, it is then that God grows and changes me. But if I just get mad and walk away…if I think that everybody else’s “picture” of who I am isn’t who I truly am…well, that is when I stay the same old me.

It is hard to hear criticism or to come face to face with areas that need change. Many times we ignore what we see. Or we rationalize our behavior: “It’s just my personality.” And, often, our initial response to someone who is lovingly confronting us is to turn the attack on the person talking to us.  “Well you do _______, so what gives you the right to judge me?”

I know all this, because I have done it.  But when I respond that way, I also know I am missing out on the blessing of God showing me the areas I need to grow.

I would like to change that picture on the video my daughter took, but I can’t. I will never like what I look like in that video. But guess what? There is the possibility to change future pictures.  But only if I face the truth.

Let’s learn to love the truth. Not only when it comes to Bible doctrine and theology, but also when it comes to ourselves. It is only when we see ourselves as we truly are that we can start becoming who we are supposed to be.

 

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Proverbs 27:6-7 Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

 

Can you see that ant?

There is an ant here. Can you see it?

 

We recently installed granite in our kitchen. It is a lovely variegated stone with tans and creams and black.  And while I absolutely love how the granite looks, I realized that there is now an awful lot that I can’t see. It is so good at hiding dirt that it is hard to tell that there is any unless you rub your hand across it and feel the gritty surface.

This fall has brought an onslaught of ants to our kitchen sink area and, like you may have already guessed, they are hard to spot on our new counters. They hurry and scurry across the surface, but I really have to look to find them in the multicolored granite.  Now, when my counter tops were a single light color I could easily spot any insect invader.

Hmmm…those ants remind me of sins that go unnoticed in my life, if I am trying to live with one foot in the world and one foot out.  When I am caught up in worldly passions and interests and am trying to mix it all up with my love for Christ and holy living, then I tend to minimize or not even notice the sin in my life.  Instead of contrasting my sin against the purity of Christ, I compare my “weaknesses” and “flaws” to those of  others. “I am not as bad as they are,” I say.

And you know what? When we compare our lives to someone else’s we always have a hard time finding our own sin. It’s there, but it’s like a little miniscule ant getting lost in the big world full of sinners. But when I look towards Christ, my sin all of a sudden shows clearly, like a giant spot of black grease on a white shirt.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently and, to tell you the truth, sometimes it can be overwhelming. When I compare myself to the purity of Christ it isn’t hard to see how and why I don’t measure up in God’s eyes in a thousand different ways. But that makes salvation all the more glorious!  This is one reason it is so important to see my own sin clearly. But not only does this help me appreciate my Savior more, it also gives me an opportunity to show the world that there is victory over sin!

So many of us live in a constant state of defeat. We languish in bad habits and hurtful attitudes for our whole lives. Why?

*Eric Ludy says this: “We are so used to hearing futility, we are so used to hearing about the failure, and we know the failure in our own life, that we don’t believe in victory anymore.”

I believe that’s true.

But it is only by acknowledging sin that we can even begin the journey to victory. And sin, especially in the life of a Christian, can be subtle and hidden.  Oh, God will show us if we are looking for it, but if we aren’t, it tends to get lost in our worldly lifestyles, just like the ants on my granite counter top.

May we be wholly devoted to becoming like Jesus. May we throw away our pride and our rebellion, so that we may instead be aware of the sin in our life, and then repent  and grow as a believer. May we truly understand just how sinful we are so that we can better understand just how awesome our Savior is! And may we show a dying world that there is victory over sin!

 

I Corinthians 15:56-58 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

 

*Eric Ludy “The Spirit is Willing” 

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