Looking in the mirror and not liking what I see

Rev. Raymond Maher

This morning I did not see myself in the mirror, but I knew no matter how I appeared to others I was wrestling with an unfair attitude towards another person. I told Ed my appearance in a mirror was no worse than usual, but on the inside, I was critical without good reasons. Ed suggested that some days it’s hard to like yourself or anyone else. My old neighbour asked me, “Were you mad at yourself for some reason?”

Some say those who find fault with others are unhappy with themselves. Others claim being sour, grumpy and fault-finding comes from being bull-headed in the sense of being self-willed. Instead of finding understanding, acceptance and tolerance for another person, I kept running on empty this morning, and I'm not proud of it.

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It is hard to accept when I’m acting at my worst rather than exhibiting my best attitude towards another person. How I see others may not be obvious to them, but it is crystal clear to God. Even when attending church, we may be more concerned about what or who offends us rather than being humble in ourselves before our Almighty God.

In the book of James, we are asked, “But you – who are you to judge your neighbour? There is only one Lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.” (James 4:12)

Jesus teaches in (Mathew 7:1-2) “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

In (Romans 14:10-15) we are instructed, “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another.”

I realize that when I went to church today, I did not go with a humble heart. I went with pride, because I was critical of another person in my mind. I wanted God to have mercy on me, a sinner, but I would not extend mercy in my thoughts to another person. What the other person did was, if anything, a few specks of irritation. Sadly, I turned each into a plank and dismissed the person as one who always irritates me.

I was a hypocrite thinking about how another was irritating me when I was irritating God with prideful fault-finding thinking. I passed judgment on someone else, condemning me for doing the same thing. (Romans 2:1)

God is the mirror of our souls, hearts and attitudes. God knows what is beyond our outward appearance. God knows that evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander come out of our hearts.

With God, there is forgiveness for sinners like me and you. He calls us together at church so that His word and will convict and convince us that mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13) Jesus’s mercy towards us means we are to be merciful to others.

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