By James Synder
I have never been fascinated by my looks, and I don’t think anybody else has either. Sometimes, however, I have to spend a little more time before the mirror to get prepared for where I am going. I must say, I am not fond of mirrors and I make it as quick as possible.
I do not trust mirrors. When I was a youngster, my family lived very close to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. One of the major attractions there was the “House of Mirrors.” You would walk in and the mirrors would distort what you really looked like.
Walking through, we would always laugh and point to the person in the mirror not acknowledging that it was us. I could not trust those mirrors at Hershey Park, which has stayed with me all my life.
I had forgotten about those mirrors until recently. I was getting ready to go somewhere and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “Have you looked in the mirror today?”
Not knowing what she was talking about I muttered, “Yes, I glanced at it this morning.”
What she was getting at was beyond my speculation except that she saw something on my face that for some reason I had not seen.
“You ought to look in the mirror before you leave,” she stated.
I never want to start a day objecting to anything my wife says if I don’t have to. Therefore, to please her so I could get out of the house as quick as possible, I went and looked in the mirror and there it was.
That morning I had nicked myself shaving and did not notice it, but the blood started coming out very slowly. By the time I got out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, the blood had flowed down the side of my face. I looked at it, got some paper towels and cleaned up my face.
“That looks better,” my wife said as I was leaving. Then she said something that struck me.
“Remember,” she said as gently as possible, “the mirror never lies.”
That phrase stuck with me all day long and as I pondered it, I wondered if it was true. Those mirrors at the Hershey Park lied all the time. I was not as twisted as they made me out to be.
The mirror in my bathroom, according to my wife, is not like those mirrors. The mirror in my bathroom always reflects the real me. Which, as I thought about it, it rather disturbed me. Am I really what I look like in the mirror?
Maybe that is why my wife spends 10 times more time before her mirror than I do before my mirror. In fact, I am thinking about looking in her mirror some morning to see if I am seeing what she sees when she looks in her mirror.
Wouldn’t it be great if one morning we got our bathrooms mixed up? I went into her bathroom and looked in her mirror and she went into my bathroom and looked in my mirror. I will know when that happens because I will hear some loud screaming coming from my bathroom.
When I go to my barber, he always wants me to look at the back of my head in a mirror he provides to see if I like it. I always say to him, “If you like it, I’m okay with it.” I never see the back of my head unless I am near a mirror.
In the morning, I glance in the mirror to make sure nothing is out of place, and then I go on with my day never thinking about that mirror ever again. If I had to think about what I look like in the mirror all day long I probably would go insane.
Of course, I spent all day thinking about my bathroom mirror. I have come to this rather sincere conclusion. My mirror does not lie, but sometimes it giggles. If I was a mirror and had to see a face like mine looking in, I think I would do more than giggle.
Outward looks are not that important, at least to me. It is not the outside that really is significant, but rather the inside.
I think it is rather hypocritical for some people, and I am not mentioning any names whatsoever, to plaster their face with makeup hiding their real self. Looking at some people you do not know if you are seeing the real person.
I saw someone the other day, I could not tell if it was male or female, but their face was plastered with makeup, they had earrings, nose rings and even a ring on their tongue. They had rings all over their face, which made them look like a ding-a-ling.
Walking away from that person, I wondered if they had a mirror in their bathroom. If so, I am not sure they looked at it that morning.
I could not help what Jesus said to the Pharisees of his day. “And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness” (Luke 11:39).
I can be so caught up with my outward appearance I forget the important part is inside; my soul. The Bible is the mirror I need to see my soul.
Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored 15 books altogether. Through more than thirty-five years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and seven grandchildren.