The Stranger in the Mirror


One day, while cleaning, I put my full length mirror in the hall way so it wouldn’t get broken. Maddy, our Basset hound, came running down the hallway, floppy ears dragging the floor, tongue hanging out, eager to be wherever I was.

As Maddy rounded the corner she saw herself in the mirror and came to a galloping halt.  Not recognizing herself, she barked at the “stranger” in the mirror until her doggie voice was hoarse. I laughed till I could laugh no more.

The scripture in Luke 18 (the Pharisee on the corner, beating his chest and proclaiming how good it was to not be like everybody else,) is in every preacher’s book of sermons. We always focus on the poor sinner who stood and humbly prayed; confessing his own frailties and sinful nature.  In our hearts, we know—we hope– we are like him and not the holier than thou Pharisee.

But, let’s look at the prideful Pharisee for a moment. He obviously thought himself to be a good example or he wouldn’t have been standing on the corner reciting his virtues.  Comparing himself to others, he figured he looked pretty good, all things considered.  He thought himself to be a righteous man, doing all God required.

Since he was so certain of Godly virtues, he must have been faithful in attending synagogue (church) or he would have had no awareness of a standard. He was a man who attended church, did good works, even paid his tithes—yet he knew nothing of the heart of a servant.  He had no concept of the need for a savior, even though he was, himself, religious.

My own heart needs to be examined. Do I have a servant’s heart, daily seeking how to lift up, encourage, help out and do the inconvenient, UNnoticed tasks?  I must ask myself, if I rounded a corner and suddenly saw “me” in God’s spiritual mirror—would I recognize myself?

Luke 18: 9-12 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable, ‘two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” “

Prayer: Father, help me to fully understand that there is nothing that I can do that would make me worthy to be your child. All that I have, all that I am, is because of your great love and forgiveness that took place at Calvary. Thank you for loving me, for saving me and for sending your Holy Spirit to direct me. Amen.

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