Sunday, July 2, 2017

Reflections

            Every day, you and I look into a mirror. We wash our face, brush our teeth, put on makeup or shave away the remains of the day. But have you ever stopped and looked at yourself in the mirror? Have you ever considered your reflection? My son, when he was about 13 years old, used to stand in front of the mirror, flexing his muscles, and admiring his physic. I used to catch him turning his body to different poses, while flexing his arms at the mirror in front of him. My daughter, also, with her best friend, would stand in front of the mirror for hours making faces, taking pictures, doing their hair and giggling non-stop. But very rarely do we ever stop to think about that person staring back at us. We rarely stop to see the faults right before our eyes. Instead, we choose to see only what we want to see.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your eye? Or how can you say to your bother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
            The first time I read this passage of scripture I was stumped. I read it and read it and read it, but it did not seem to make sense to me at all. I prayed and asked the Lord to reveal His word to me and to show me what it was that He was trying to teach me. A few days went by and I had almost forgotten about the verses until I ran into my friend. Literally, ran into him. We collided and came face to face, nose to nose, eye to eye. In that moment, as his eyes came squarely into my focus, I saw a miniature reflection of myself. I saw me in his eyes. It all came into focus. The scripture came flooding across my mind and it all made perfect sense. The speck Jesus was referring to was me. I was the speck that I saw in my brother’s eye. The speck I saw in my brother’s eye was a reflection of me.
            I was humbled by these truths as they hit my heart; one by one. I was taken back by the words of my Lord as they hit me right between the eyes. Jesus says we are not to judge others. The context that Jesus is speaking about in regard to judging is the condemning of others for their faults. For instance, you have a friend that constantly preaches at you. They are always telling you what you should do, how you should live your life, the way you should handle situations, and they do it like you have no clue how to walk with Jesus without them. Every time you turn around they are preaching at you about how you should live your life, raise your kids, or run your business. It drives you nuts! You sometimes leave their presence frustrated and not wanting to hang out with them anymore. You see this fault of theirs and it makes you want to point it out, to tell them you can’t be their friend anymore, and it causes you to love this person a little less. This fault that drives you crazy in them, is actually your fault, it’s just reflecting off them.
“Therefore, you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
Romans 2:1
            Jesus is teaching us to look at our faults first before we go pointing out everyone else’s. We cannot have godly, loving relationships as He commands us to have until we clear away the stack of logs we have in our own eyes. When we stand before others and start to see their faults, we must be on guard and take the words of our Lord to heart. We are not seeing their faults, we are seeing our own, reflected back onto us. It’s not them you are seeing, it is you. You see your sins on others before you will see them in yourself.
“As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.” Proverbs 27:19
            Jesus calls us hypocrites, and rightly so! I get upset and frustrated, angry and hurt by the faults of others, but I am unwilling to see that it is only a reflection of what is inside me. I am too full of my own logs to see that my brother’s speck is only a reflection of what is inside me.
            So, what, my dear Christian, is the remedy? How do we remove the log from our own eyes so that we can see clearly the brothers and sisters who are standing in front of us? We recognize that the faults we see in others are the faults we have not been willing to see in ourselves. We must come to Jesus and confess these sins, these faults in humility, and pray for His mercy to cleanse us from this unrighteousness. We must allow His Word to be truth and accept the forgiveness only He can give. Once He does forgive, and He will forgive us, that fault you saw in your brother’s eye will be gone. It may still be true for him, but for you, you will see him as Christ sees him. What drove you nuts before, will now cause you to love him more. You will see clearly how to love him because Christ has loved you. You will see clearly how to forgive him because you have received forgiveness for the exact same sin. Your sin won’t look so big on him anymore, because you will have been forgiven and cleansed and that sin will be no more. Amen!
“So then, each of us shall give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Romans 14:12-13