Saturday, May 5, 2007

A House of Mirrors

“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Num.13:33)

From reading the last half of the verse, it’s reasonable to assume that the reason the ten gloomy spies saw themselves as grasshoppers in comparison to the giant Anakims, was because that’s the way the Anakims saw them. Obviously, the comparison is completely skewed. The Anakims may well have been giants, but the Israelites were not as small as grasshoppers in comparison. Midgets maybe, but not grasshoppers! Some things never change. We are all prone to exaggeration, one way or the other. In some cases, it may not be too harmful, especially if it’s used satirically. But at other times, such as in this example, it can be disastrous. The picture these men painted of the impossible odds that would have to be faced if they followed God and Moses into the Promised Land was so fearful that the people lost heart and ended up postponing victory for forty years.

We all know that few of us see ourselves as we truly are; but to try to remedy this by seeing ourselves as others see us is not always an accurate gauge either. Neither we nor they are free from bias. Love and hate can both be blind. Self-loathing is just as dishonest as narcissism (love of oneself). And the opinion of a prejudicial critic is no worse than that of an over indulgent friend. The truth is, this world is like a house of mirrors that gives us a sometimes amusing, but never accurate, reflection of ourselves. Even a true mirror can be deceiving. That’s why the reflection we see when we make a quick pass is different from the one we see when we take the time to stand and gaze. The latter has the benefit (?) of time to factor in a preconceived idea that either masks or magnifies flaws.

The only true picture you and I will ever have of ourselves is the one given to us in the infallible Word of God. It is a true reflection of what the penetrating eye of God sees before and after He has fashioned us into “new creatures” (2Cor.5:17), once clothed with filthy rags (Isa.64:6) but now robed with the righteousness of the perfect Son of God. So if anyone asks you how you see yourself, tell them, “Not too good; but God thinks I’m perfect, and He’s got better eyesight!

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