Warped Mirrors

As a child, one of my literary touchstones was Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”.  In the prelude to this story, Andersen describes a warped mirror that has been designed by the devil.  Like the mirrors in funhouses of days gone by, this mirror distorts and mars everything it reflects.  Often Satan’s demons roam the earth carrying this mirror with them, cackling gleefully at all the mischief they are creating by reflecting untruths down upon humankind.  One day a power struggle ensues, and in the turmoil the demons drop the mirror, which shatters into thousands of shards, some lodging in people’s eyes and hearts, distorting their view and turning their hearts to stone.

The remainder of this fairy tale concerns the epic search by a little girl, Greta, to find her dearest friend, Kay, whose heart has turned to ice from the mirror sliver lodged there.  Ultimately love triumphs, but at great cost.

I think of this story whenever I hear Matthew’s warning in the gospel—”you who see a speck in your brother’s eye, first take the log out of your own.”   The devil’s mirror still has the power to play fancy tricks on us.  But only until we recognize it and remove it.  Then we regain our true eyesight.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a sermon, read something meaningful, seen a powerful movie, etc. and thought to myself “so-and-so should really hear this message.”  That may be true, but it might also be that warped mirror speaking, reflecting away from me and projecting onto others my own worst fears and darkest traits.  If I take the time to be honest with myself and look a little deeper, I often understand that the lesson or message is for ME.  It may or may not apply to others as well, but my job, as I’m better beginning to understand, it to pay attention to who I am called to be and what I am called to do, and trust God to nudge others in the direction they’re supposed to be heading. If I can successfully rein in my tendencies to make sure everybody else is getting it right, that equips me with more than enough energy to follow God’s call for me.  

And today, that call appears to be leading me towards Europe.  If I ever had a better incentive to give up micro-managing, I don’t know what that might be.  Try pulling that plank out of your eye and see what happens.  The view can be pretty spectacular.

 

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