“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” – James 1:23-24
During this series we are looking at I Corinthians 13. I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of “seeing in a mirror dimly” (verse 12). It reminds me of a favorite passage in the book of James. James 1:22 says “do not merely listen to the word… do what it says!” James goes on in verses 23-24 to pose an interesting illustration about the person who looks in a mirror and then immediately forgets his own image.
The issue of self-awareness has been studied and written about by many modern psychologists. Sometimes we find ourselves very attentive to our own image, while other times we are clueless to how others perceive us. Our self-awareness can be helpful in moderating behavior, but can also become problematic if we are too selfish!
The scripture passages in I Corinthians and James are encouraging us to take a selfie – to think critically about how we look to others. But the goal in this exercise is not to analyze our physical appearance but to take a look at our attitudes and behaviors. If we want to love our neighbors, we need to spend time every day reflecting on how our words and actions affect others. What does our co-worker see when we treat a client with respect (or disregard)? What message are we conveying to our children when we pass by a person in need? How does a spouse or close friend interpret the gestures we offer? All of these examples are ways that we can use a mirror to analyze our own spiritual lives as we seek to be good neighbors.
I invite you to join me in allowing the Bible to be a daily “spiritual mirror” that helps you to think about your own life and the way that you are sharing God’s love and bringing hope to the world. As you read the Scriptures, let God lead you to “do what it says” by loving your neighbor through your words and actions. Take time to write down some of your observations, and see how God works in and through your life as you walk closely with Him each day.
– Phil Greenwald, Executive Pastor of Administration