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Monday, November 3, 2014

Mirror, mirror on the wall....

To truly see ourselves, we need more than a mirror, don't we?  In fact, I can only see "one side" of me when I am looking in a mirror.  Even if I have a mirror in front of me and one in back, I can only get the perspective of either the back or the front, but truthfully not the whole.  Mirrors have limits, don't they?  I can see what my eye can take in, but beyond that, I am powerless to identify what might just be a little bit out of my focus.  Mirrors also do something we don't actually think about too much until we try to do something very "tactile" such as cutting our own hair.  Try trimming a few wayward strands yourself and you will see what I mean - those scissors appear to be going in the exact opposite direction as you are trying to make them go!  Why?  You are seeing a "mirror image" - the complete opposite of what is reality.  To move the scissors to the left in the mirror, you must move them to the right for real!  The mirror gives a reflection, but truthfully, it cannot do as well as if we had someone cutting our hair for us!  We need the perspective they get because they see as it is, not as it is reflected!  

You see your face in a mirror and your thoughts in the minds of others. (Proverbs 27:19 CEV)

I recently took a trip through the desert on the way to the coast and observed acres and acres of large reflective panels mounted so as to catch the rays of the sun, obviously producing energy for some utility company.  These panels were huge and there literally were miles of them.  The ones I could see were shining brightly and obviously doing just exactly what they were put there to do - reflect light!  Did you stop to consider how a mirror actually works? Without getting all technical on you, the basics of a mirror is to reflect back light rays.  As with all forms of light "energy", it must "go somewhere" - either be absorbed by what it hits, go through it, or bounce back from it.  If it is a transparent piece of glass, it goes through it. If it is a leaf on a plant, it is absorbed.  If it is a "darkly colored" object, it reflects the light back.  So, a mirror is a painted piece of glass (with a dark side under the glass), designed to get the light bouncing off of our bodies and objects around us to be "reflected back" as images of the real thing. 

If the mirror is pretty close to flat and of a high quality, what is reflected back is pretty close to the original - so you can trust the reflection to point out what you want to see.  If it bends inward at the center, like those on the acres of open land in the desert, the light converges and you get something known as magnification.  We want magnification if we are trying to pluck a wayward grey hair from our eyebrows, or observe the tiny speck of irritating stuff lodged in our eye.  We don't want magnification when we are trying on a new outfit in a dressing room to see if it is "flattering" to us!  In fact, we might want the opposite - like a mirror which takes off 20 pounds!  Now, go back to what I said about mirrors seeming to "flip" things left to right.  You are attempting to find that wayward straggler of an eyebrow and you move your tweezers a little this way or that.  If you become quite proficient at it, you actually accomplish removing the wayward hair.  What you have to recognize is that the mirror does not "flip" the image you see - you do!  You react to what you see and then move the object this way or that, thinking it will "right" the image in your mind.

The truth is, the mirror did not change the image - it is a true reflection of what is there - you did the "flipping"!  You changed the position of the scissors or tweezers because you expected it to appear differently - your mind formed the image you expected to see rather than the exact image you did see.  Now, at first this may not seem significant, but go back to the passage we have for today's study and see it afresh.  You and I can see whatever we want to see when we look at our reflection in the mirror.  We might tell our minds one thing, thereby influencing what we believe to see reflected in the mirror.  The truth is probably not seen until another helps us "ferret out" what our mind has been telling us about our "reflection" which may not be close to the truth!

This is why the Word of God is sometimes called a mirror - it reflects back things we might not see without it!  Yet, we don't want to accept the mirror's reflection at face value sometimes, right?  Why?  We have allowed our minds to tell us something different than what the mirror is reflecting!  We need the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit within to help us sort out the true image of what we are seeing reflected through the Word.  In much the same manner, we need each other to help expose the what is hidden within the mind which plays tricks on what we see reflected when we look into the mirror.  Have you ever noticed how well you might receive something from a faithful friend, while you have been struggling to get at the same truth yourself by looking intently into the mirror of the Word?  The friend is able to go beyond the reflection to see the truth hidden deep within - something we might need a little more of if we are to begin to see an accurate reflection of just who we are.  Just sayin!