A brief warning before you continue. This is an odd posting!

Today, as I was driving home from school, I began thinking about mirrors and how they provide a reflection of us. But what if the mirror reflected our innermost character? What would we find? I have the feeling that we’d probably get glimpses of ourselves that were less than favorable. I think we’d see our flaws or our sins more clearly, especially if we were using one of those mirrors that magnifies – then it’d read “objects in mirror actually as bad as they appear!”

In thinking about this, I wondered what analogy I could use to describe this further. Here’s where the post gets odd. The analogy I came up with is this: Imagine you’re all dressed up for a ball or some other fancy event. You’ve gone all out picking out a beautiful outfit and primping until you’re perfectly put together. You have a wonderful time and you talk with everyone under the sun, including that special someone you’ve had your eye on. When you get home, dizzy with excitement from a wonderful evening, you stop by the mirror before heading to bed and there it is…a huge piece of food stuck in your teeth.

AHHHHHH! How long has that been there!?! It’s hideous…horrendous…horrible… The evening flickers before your eyes – oh my gosh, who saw you like that? Your heart sinks as you realize it was probably there most of the evening, including when you talked to that perfect person.

Sadly, I think we’ve all lived through this terrible and socially awkward situation, albeit maybe not quite as bad as described above. Sometimes, you have a friend with you who is close enough to you to point out the situation to you. It’s always awkward receiving this news, but it can save a great deal of awkwardness and embarrassment in the long run! After all, the only thing worse that having your friend tell you about the food in your teeth is getting home and finding out that its been there and you had no idea.

Maybe its like this with our flaws, too. We wish we didn’t have them and that they never came up, like a piece of spinach in a perfect smile, but they happen and sometimes, probably more often than not, we can’t see them. So what do we do? Well, we get by with a little help from our friends.

Matthew 18:15 states, “If another member of the church sins (against you), go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.” Much like the coveted friend pointing out a food faux pas, a friend can also gently point out when we go astray or err and when we are…well, not living up to our full potential. As with the food, isn’t it much worse to find out way down the line that you’ve been doing something wrong or harmful than the temporary awkwardness of having a friend point it out early on so you can work on the problem? I think so.

Trusted friends and mentors act as our mirrors – our sounding-boards for viewing and reflecting on things that we’ve done or are thinking about doing. It takes relationships grounded in trust, respect and love in order for this to work. It also takes practice to confront people with care and grace – to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:25).

So rather than be afraid of confronting our flaws or sins, let us turn the mirror on them so that we can see clearly to work on addressing the problem with the support of our friends. Let’s not go through the party of life ignoring the problems people may try to gently make us aware of. Rather, let’s listen and work on the problems, seeking to follow God anew each day.

© 2010. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

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