By Jimmy Tuten
A recent issue of Time had an interesting statement about the development of a new mirror. All conventional mirrors are reversed and flattened making it impossible for us to see ourselves as others see us. Now there is a mirror available that gives a “positive” reflection. No longer will we (while looking into a conventional mirror) have to see ourselves doing things opposite to what we are actually doing. If, for “ample, you part your hair on the left you will no longer see it as if it is being parted on the right, as a regular mirror shows it. This new mirror is called the “Really Me” mirror and retails for about $50.00. What is especially interesting is that it is estimated that “some 70 percent of those who see themselves positively for the first time do not like their appearance and would prefer an old fashioned mirror.”
The Bible presents itself as a true mirror of the soul (Jas. 1: 19-25). “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (Jas. 1:25). This mirror reveals man as God sees him and gives him a truly positive picture of the condition of the soul. As men view themselves in God’s mirror, some turn away with a preference for what they wish. Because some do not like the positive ID revealed in God’s Word, they reject that Word and bring upon themselves swift destruction. Why is it that most do not like the real positive view of themselves?
Looking at God’s “glass” (Jas. 1:23) we see perfect truth and the beauty of holiness. In contrast we see deformity and unholiness of our real self. Because one is simply charmed with the truth and holiness seen in God’s word and has an equally loathing for his own sin, he goes away forgetting the manner of man that he is. Sometimes there is no real “doing” of God’s will because looking requires continuance. There must be an abiding practice of God’s law (Paul calls this the working out of one’s own salvation with fear and trembling, Phil. 2:12) that can only result from a continued gazing into its excellence of beauty and knowledge, and consequent knowledge of our own distance from the standard of God’s Word. The Bible teaches that there is no cleansing from sin without meeting specific requirements for forgiveness and cleansing (Acts 2:38; 1 Jn. 1:7-9). Looking into the mirror of God is like walking in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). Looking and walking can be discontinued, and if we fail to be a “doer” or a “looker” there is no blessing. One may look into the perfect law of liberty, but turn away tomorrow! How sad that some of our own brethren cannot see this, but are saying instead that a “penitent attitude benefits from the blood of Christ even as he sins. . . ” (Sentry Magazine, Aug. 31, 1981). God’s Word teaches that there can be no looking and not looking, doing and not doing at the same time, no matter what the disposition or attitude. “. . . He being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (Jas. 1:25).
As you look at the mirror of God’s Word, is it the result of its charm and novelty (as some see it), rather than a desire to see a positive ID? Perhaps youthful pride in intellectual achievement blinds so that the image is blurred. One may desire the tenants of denominationalism’s creeds and disciplines, but only God’s Word can give a positive ID of the soul. “To see ourselves as others see us,” in the words of Robert Burns, has always been possible. The perfect mirror giving one a perfect image is the mirror of God’s Word. Perhaps our real problem lies in the fact that we do not like what we see. So, we turn away. How sad!
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 20, pp. 611-612
October 20, 1983