Summary: Beloved, have you ever looked in the mirror and the reflection told you what you didn’t want to see? You know, you might be feeling one way but when you look at yourself in the mirror the reflection reproduces something totally different.

You know, in the last 2 to 3 years, I noticed two pretty important ways the world has changed.

Now frankly, I don’t know whether it’s because of global warming or the lack of gun control or the Obama administration. All I know is that these two issues, at least to me, are far more important

than what’s happening in Syria or the upcoming season of “The Haves and the Have Nots.”

I’m talking about, first, how, for reasons I don’t understand, my clothes have started to shrink, just hanging in the closet. And I know its happening because they all feel tighter

than they used too. Now, that’s a problem, and second, I’ve noticed that mirrors just don’t reflect the truth anymore. I mean, my Lord, I shave every morning, and I’ve done that for the last 37 years. But now, the face I see in the mirror, I’m telling you, it’s not mine!!! No sir!!! It’s a guy who has a fat face, who’s hair has thinned, and the youthful look as disappeared.

You see, what I’m talking about? That’s not me, right? I’m telling you, instead of throwing all kinds of money at climate change and alternative sources of energy, man, we should be trying to figure out the mystery of shrinking pants and faulty mirrors. Well of course, I’m not an idiot. I recognize that this really isn’t any mystery at all. The size of my clothes aren’t changing; I know it’s the size of my waistline. And there’s nothing wrong or different with the mirror in my downstairs basement bathroom.

It’s just that I’m not doing cartwheels over the face that’s looking back at me. No, my reflection isn’t the way it was,

something that I guess comes from not dying younger, and all things considered, that’s a whole lot worse than some too tight pants and forehead cresses. Still Beloved, I can’t honestly say that the face in the mirror makes me particularly happy, especially when I think about the whole picture, including some of the stuff that lurks beneath the surface.

You see Beloved,when what I see is less than good, that’s normally how I feel. But you know, I don’t think I’m alone in that. I mean, wouldn’t y’all agree that when we see ourselves in a negative way, it sure effects how we feel, and I’m talking about how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about our lives, even how we might feel about our faith and relationship with God? In fact, I think that’s probably true of everybody, Christian or not; when our vision is negative, so are our feelings. And I’ll tell you, it’s not all that hard to see some things that are less than pleasing

when we stare into the mirror and observe all the flaws that are reflected back. I mean,even if we can say that we earned every line and every wrinkle and every grey hair, seeing them reflected back to us, well, they’re all reminders that we’re not spring chickens anymore and that ain’t great. And that’s just the surface.

Beloved, what if we take a hard look at what’s underneath, you know, those character flaws we’d prefer to keep out of sight. You know what I’m talking about, the envy and jealousy we direct toward people whom we think got the breaks and we didn’t, or the anger and bitterness we hold towards folks who’ve hurt us in the past, or the disrespect, disapproval, belittling, and mocking we have for all those whom we believe don’t measure up.

And what if we spend a little time with all that stuff that God has seen us do in private, you know, the times we’ve done what was easy and popular instead of what was right or when we’ve helped ourselves rather than someone in need or when we’ve committed that secret sin which no one knows but for which we can’t forgive ourselves.

I’m telling you Beloved, it’s not hard to see things reflected back from that mirror, stuff that can cause us to cringe,

you know, things that make us feel tired and that make us feel shame and that make us feel alone.

You see, this is what I was talking about when I said that how we see ourselves can and well, it does affect how we feel. And if what we see is negative, so will be our feelings. And I’ll tell you, because this seems to be true for all of us, I believe this particular passage from Paul’s first letter to Timothy is really important to us all, and I’ll tell you why. In these verses, Paul not only tells us how he felt but also what he was able to see to get there. And you know Beloved, if we’re able to catch that same vision, you know, to see that same face in the mirror, I think it’ll shape our feelings also. I mean, I don’t know about you all, but I’d sure like to have the same kind of feeling Paul had when he wrote this to hisyoung protégé: Paul said“I am thankful to the one who strengthened me, Christ Jesus, our Lord...”

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