Smiles make us feel good . . . especially when directed at us.
I have experienced numerous smiles since my recent return to the Netherlands. The smiles were coming from complete strangers.
I’m not a person who overanalyzes looks or voice inflection. So for a moment I was flattered . . . until the mirror had its say.
We all know lighting, clothing, health, and even the time of day can drastically change the content of a mirror’s report. But my mirror spoke bluntly and with clarity.
What did my mirror say?
Well, for starters, it reminded me, “Yes, this is what you actually look like.”
Then, as a follow-up, the mirror enlisted my “common sense” and “decades of life experience” and provided one word that put everything in order: “Pity.”
I rebelled temporarily. But this time, the mirror used “reality” and “memory” to quell my rebellion.
Was it so bad that people smiled at me because they felt sorry for me when they noticed I have a handicap?
No, I reasoned. Whether it was a I have a friend or loved one like you smile, a Glad it’s you and not me smile, or a God bless you for carrying on smile, the mirror had no lasting power over me. Because it lied.
Yes, that’s right: my mirror lied.
In fact, all mirrors lie – if we believe the reflection reflects the totality of the person. Or if I believe what I see in it is what everyone else sees.
Yes, the mirror correctly shows the shiny crown of my head with grey hair extending from the sides. And my slightly-faded, alert blue eyes resting behind shields of glass.
And if I listened to the mirror, then, yes – my best days are gone and time and travel have won.
It’s easy to fall prey to the mirror. When our reflection shows youthful health and beauty, we may succumb to pride and self-sufficiency. But time and death stop for no one. Sadly, by the time many realize the truth, the “game of life” is nearly over. The mirror can provide neither meaning or purpose.
But I don’t listen to the mirror, and neither should you.
Oh, the mirror has some legitimate uses for checking our outward appearance. It reveals toothpaste or a tie that needs straightening.
But remember: God inspects the inside, our hearts. And that’s no cliché, but an absolute freeing truth . . . or a condemnation, depending on our heart condition.
What if there were a mirror that can show one’s “inside” is perfect? Not merely improved, nor just “above average,” but completely acceptable to the Creator of the heavens and the earth? That one’s shortcomings and sinful acts or thoughts are all forgiven? That one is washed clean and a new creation?
Now that mirror, if it speaks truth, would beckon us to listen.
A wonderfully instructive Bible passage describes a person who is a ”hearer of God’s word” but not a “doer” of God’s word.  Scripture says this person is like one who looks at his natural self in the mirror, yet quickly forgets what he looks like once he walks away.
But by looking at God’s perfect law of liberty and being a “doer” of His word, we will be blessed.
Why? Because it’s not a physical mirror on a wall or others’ opinions that matter. What truly matters is how God views us. And realigning our thoughts to mesh with His.
As we consider God’s perfect law and act upon it, the Holy Spirit within us starts to mold us into the image of Jesus. That which matters to God begins to become what matters most to us. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
I am finding that as the years pass and the physical reflection I see is also changing, so do my thoughts on things that matter. For example, I recently read a quote from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel that resonated with me: “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I’m old, I admire kind people.“
Remember the next time you look in a mirror that the reflection that counts is not the one you are seeing. What matters is what God sees in your inner thoughts and attitude and outward actions.
My challenge for you is to look deeply into the “perfect Law of Liberty” – God’s Word. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” In doing so you will be transformed from the inside. You will find freedom from sin and false worldly standards.
Will you take up my challenge, or will you continue to let the mirror on the wall lie to you?