Do You Like What You See?

Author: Tim Ahlman

When you find yourself in front of a mirror do you like what you see? A mirror is a true reflection of your physical body. There is no hiding. Of course, a mirror can’t reflect back your true self - your physical, emotional, and spiritual self. But if it could reflect your true self would you like what you see?

Let’s be honest. Some of you love you some self. You’ve got a fair amount of self-confidence. “Look at how good I look. Look at how I serve so much more than everybody else. Look at how much more I have in my bank account. Look at how much better behaved my kids are than that person. They’re a mess…but look at how good I look.” If this is your attitude the metaphorical mirror reflects back PRIDE.

 Others of you don’t like what you see. “Oh, I look terrible. My life is a train wreck. My marriage is a mess. My kids can’t control themselves. My job is a drain. I’ve never been so lonely. I self-medicate more than I’d like to admit. I don’t like what I see.” Maybe your words are even stronger. You would never talk about others the way you talk about yourself. “I hate what I see.” Your metaphorical mirror reflects back SHAME.

 Let’s simply think logically. Apart from faith in Jesus, there are only two logical ends/goals. If you’re prideful your end is hedonism - pleasure at all costs. If you’re shameful your end is nihilism - your life is fatally flawed. You might as well give up.
I believe you’re reading this because you don’t like either of these extremes. Here enters God’s Law.  

We learn in Luther’s Small Catechism that the Law of God serves as a mirror. There are two different types of laws - human laws and God’s Law. Human laws are fulfilled by what is done or not done. But God’s Law judges according to what is in the depths of the heart. God’s law reflects back to us who we truly are.  God’s Law isn’t just a bunch of “do this” or “don’t do that” instructions. God’s law is not fulfilled because you did or did not act. God’s Law looks not only to the outward action but to the heart.  

The Law exposes my heart. In my heart is all sorts of sin and covetousness. In our sin, before the Law, we think that we’re actually alive. We’re self-reliant. Self-confident. The Law mirrors how sick with sin my heart actually is. Therefore, I have no right to self-righteously stand “above/apart” from others in their sin. The Law levels the playing field.
When we look into the mirror of God’s Law, God’s Law reflects back to us who we truly are - we are sinners. Poor, miserable, sinners in need of a Savior. Look in the mirror (that is God’s Law), do you like what you see? Universally we say - NO!

This is why Jesus came. When the mirror of God's Law kills you, the grace of God in the person of Jesus Christ brings you grace, life and the unconditional love of God by faith! Look in the mirror. Jesus is smiling over you. You, sinner, have been given life by faith. Smile back at Jesus. He loves you so much.