Relational Mirrors

I'm older, so I remember the "fun house" attraction at county fairs. As you enter, you may think of yourself as reasonably attractive — or at least average. But, inside, you see distorted images of yourself — reflected in the bent, warped glass mirrors around the walls. It's for a good laugh. It's comforting to know that the distorted images are a misperception. The "faults" are in the bent mirrors.

As I get older, I realize this is backwards. To misquote Shakespeare, the fault is not in the mirrors, but in ourselves. I am bent and broken. My falling short of God's Law is mirrored in flawed relationships. Of course, that's the point of God's Law — I should love God completely, and love my neighbor as myself. This is no fun house — this is reality.

Over 25 years ago, I was honored to serve alongside an 86 year old minister on my church staff. Befitting his years, Pastor Lou's mild hand tremors (that I now have) caused the cup he served in the Lord's Supper to wobble. As one church member commented, "Whenever Lou serves the Lord's Supper, angel dust spills into the pews."

That was not Lou's self-assessment. Whenever the staff gathered to pray, our elder brother was the chief repenter. He asked God to forgive him for deeply rooted, persistent sin patterns. We marveled. After many years of spiritual growth, Lou prayed like he was getting worse, not better. But now I get it.

Through my bride of 40 years, and honest family members, I see a high definition, unflattering picture of my ugly, persistent faults. Because loved ones faithfully love me, I have repeated opportunities to repent and run to Jesus for sanctification (my continued growth in holiness) as well as justification (Jesus' irrevocably forgiving and accepting me). The fault is not in the mirrors, but in myself.

I am not a righteous hero. I am not a worthy victim. Only Jesus is. I can't make a case for myself. I'm grateful for the good news — Jesus is the justification for my life. He is my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30). I can't make a case for myself. The Lord is writing my life story.
Lord, have mercy! Finish the good work you began in me 50 years ago. Then, on the Great Day, I will reflect your glory without distortion! Amen.