Looking down the hillside at the lake, the one thing that caught my attention first was the mountains off in the distance reflected in the shimmering pool. Actually, it really wasn’t shimmering. It was dead still. But shimmering sounds good. A scene I would have given my proverbial right arm to have a good camera to capture. Proverbial, of course, not literal. I need that arm. Anyway, back to the view. Wintry snow capped mountains, cool crispy air. The all encompassing beauty lay out there before me. Something makes you feel just a little closer to the Creator in a moment such as that. What I saw in the water wasn’t reality, but if I had taken a picture and cropped it down to just the reflection, it would have been nearly impossible to tell the difference. That’s what a reflection is.
There are many types of reflections. Most mornings you will find a pretty good reflection in your mirror. It’s not the real thing, but it’s a pretty good imitation, right? You see exactly what you look like. Now, if you’re like me, you may not want to admit to that. When I look at myself the first time in the morning, it’s not always a well received shock. I wonder sometimes if I was to put a life size picture of Christian Bale or Mel Gibson’s head on the mirror the night before if it will improve my self esteem in the morning. Probably Mel. He has more wrinkles, yet retains that youthful splendor that I exude so well. You know, I might be getting off track a little here.
The word reflection has several definitions. But, if you look them over, you’ll find they each have a similar, or the same root meaning. For instance, we just discussed a “mirror” reflection. To have reflective thoughts is to look or think something over again. To ponder on an experience again. Or mirror your experience by reliving it in your mind. Having it reflected in your mind. Now, hopefully all the High School English teachers out there are not cursing my name right now because there’s a good chance I just slaughtered the proper characterization of this word. And grammar as a whole. Thank You Jesus for spell-check!
Reflection is a good trait that can be perverted just like any other. Reflection on ones past is always good when it improves our current life. Unfortunately, we often reflect out of regret or chances missed. A very wise man said, “Don’t let your past determine your future.” When we stop to reflect, we should consider the possibilities that our good or bad decisions have made for us. We cannot get away from the mistakes after all. But we can see where they led us and learn from that. Then we must move on. Of course if you want my opinion (and you must or you wouldn‘t be reading this), I personally try to avoid reflecting to that point.
The past should only serve to improve your next step. The day I met Jesus was the day I was set free from my past and the restraints it had put on me. The mistakes and sins that kept me from being free were washed away. The effects of my sins, not the memories. I can still recall the dumb things I’ve done, but when I reflect on them, it serves me to see how far God has brought me. Not how low I was.
Indeed, the Bible teaches us that sin leads to death. “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God,” Romans 3:23. And that the payment for that sin is death (Romans 6:23) (death both spiritual and physical - physical being inevitable, spiritual, a choice). So what then? Are we stuck? Do we sit and reflect on what fools we are and the impossible gap that exists between our sinful nature and the Glory of God that we cannot attain? Sure. Why not? Enjoy it. If you’re into self pity and permanent exile. Of course we can do like many have. Remove God, remove the validity of the Scriptures, remove the moral teachings of Christ and then we no longer have to feel bad for our situation. ‘Cause if we take all that out, then we can convince ourselves that what we choose to do is moral. By our standards, not the standards of our Creator.
Or we can exist in total freedom by being loosed from the chains called sin. Don’t look at knowing Jesus as being commanded to live a certain way. It’s not. It’s the greatest type of freedom you can experience. True story. And you don’t have to do anything. Jesus already did it. Just accept Him for who He already is. Hey if you don’t like it, you can always go back to your old life, right? Oh, and the “church is full of hypocrites” doesn’t really fly. Show me anyone who isn’t a hypocrite some time in their life and they’ll be Jesus. But really, let’s not get started on that.
Matthew R. Davenport, 2008
Read more articles by M. R. Davenport or search for articles on the same topic or others.