Me Not You

Mirror on the Wall, “Aren’t I Looking Extra Fine?”

“Art should look like a photograph; that is realistic,” my friend Ed contends. I agree that paintings that show beautiful landscapes or people as real-life images can be awe-inspiring. However, I also delight in abstract work that is not always so easily labeled and recognized. Mirrors give an accurate picture of what we look like on the outside but nothing more. Your appearance in your best selfie was but your book cover when you took your picture with your phone.

Being totally honest about who and what we are as an individual is not easily understood. Why isn’t it? The Greek philosopher, Plato, asserted, “The worst of all deceptions is self-deception.” I believe we all suffer from illusory superiority fueled by our pride.

Christian Psychologist Dr. Mark McMinn contends, “We think better of ourselves than we really are, we see our faults in faint black and white rather than in vivid color, and we assume the worst in others while assuming the best in ourselves.” (Mark McMinn, Why sin Matters {Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2004} 69-71.)

The Bible speaks of self-deception this way: (Jeremiah 17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can understand it?” Many want to approach God and others with authenticity. It is a struggle, to be honest with ourselves. It means a willingness to seek to identify what drives us, motivates, and compels us both positively and negatively.

It is easy to see someone else as obnoxious and off-putting. We see how others are narcissistic, that’s in love with how they see themselves. Sadly we too have huge blind spots when it comes to ourselves. Because we profess to be believers in Christ does not mean we cannot be deceived about seeing ourselves as better than we are.

We are instructed in (Galatians 6:3-4) “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to someone else, for each one should carry his own load.”

God’s word says in (Galatians 5:14, 26,) “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (How is that going for you?) “Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.”

We must look at our actions as God’s children. Do we act in compassion, kindness, humility, and patience towards all others? (It cannot be just to those we like or agree with us.) Do we bear with others forgiving whatever grievances that we have with them? Do you forgive as the Lord forgave us in Jesus Christ? (Colossians 3:12/13/14)

This column is being written just before Palm Sunday and all the remembrance of the passion of Christ. Holy Week points us to the willingness of Jesus to ride into Jerusalem to die on the cross for our sins. “Jesus who in very nature did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. May our attitudes be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

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