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The Not-So-Magic Mirror We All Need

The Not-So-Magic Mirror We All Need

An all-female band from Austin, Texas called “The Mrs.” are on a mission to change women’s negative perceptions of themselves.  Their campaign uses a “magic mirror” set up in a local mall to help women change their self-perception.  When women look at their reflection in the mirror, they are asked to describe how they feel about themselves- which is rarely overwhelmingly positive. But that is when the mirror transforms into a screen which displays heartfelt messages from friends or family about how these women (as the band’s featured song states) are “Enough” just as they are.

We don’t want our kids- girls or boys- to grow up focused on their deficiencies and concluding that they are worthless.  We don’t want them to be limited by a lack of confidence.  But as Christians we have a very unique understanding of how we view personal worth, acceptance, and confidence. And it is not found in a magic mirror or supportive family and friends telling me I am awesome just the way I am.  It starts with a not-so-magic mirror telling me I am actually awful just the way I am according to the one whose opinion counts more than anyone else’s- God.

 

The mirror of God’s law is not complimentary but critical.  When I see my reflection in the light of God’s demand “be holy because I the Lord am holy” (Leviticus 19:2), I see abject failure and disgusting worthlessness.  God goes beyond the mostly mild, superficially negative things I tell myself about body shape, facial features, and lack of talents or accomplishments compared to others, to expose the wickedness of my thoughts, desires, words, and deeds.  An overweight body is nothing compared to an inflated, arrogant ego.  A face that is less than model-worthy is nothing compared to a face twisted in rage at another human being.  A lack of talent or accomplishments compared to others is nothing compared to everything good I should have done for God or others that I have failed to do in my life. I see that plus hateful thoughts, shameful desires, self-centered motives, lousy attitudes, deceptive and hurtful words, and thoughtless actions in the mirror of God’s law. “Through the law we become conscious of sin”  (Romans 3:20), with the result “that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” (Romans 3:19)

 

I need that mirror (even though I whine, “But it hurts to look into it!  It makes me feel bad!”) My kids need that mirror (even though they whine about it too, especially in a culture that tends to give our kids an overinflated sense of their own importance and an entitlement mentality).  We all need that mirror first of all because it tells each of us the truth about how sinful, unworthy, and without hope of reaching heaven on my own I really am.  We all need that mirror because it tells each of us how much I need a Savior; how much I need Jesus.  It prepares you and me to be filled with joy, peace, and hope when God tells me what he thinks of me and has done for me in Christ despite who I am as a sinner.

 

Standing before the gospel, which tells me how God sent his only Son to suffer, die and rise again to pay for my sins and achieve my salvation, how do I see myself?  How do my kids see themselves?  What do we hear God saying to us?“Your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” (1 John 2:12) “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

 

The most important thing you can do for your kids- through the daily application of God’s Word and weekly instruction in church and Sunday School- is stand them in front of the mirror of God’s law, and stand there with them.  Then, confronted with the humbling, terrifying, awful truth of who we really are, together go to the cross. Then we will see ourselves in the light of the gospel as sinners loved by God, forgiven by God, made God’s children and heirs of heaven through Jesus Christ.  Then we can live free from sin, guilt, shame, and fear, and live the life of love that will strengthen our families and glorify God.   That is so much better than what any so-called “magic mirror” could ever produce.