I love Avis. She's like a big sister to me. She is also an awesome physical therapist. I had a severe backache when I was pregnant with Hanan. She made it go away. It was magical.
Recently, the pregnancy backache came back. Avis took one glance at me and knew right away that I was in pain. More importantly, she knew why I was in pain. "Of course your back is aching," she said, "you are carrying the baby on your right side." I have learned not to doubt her. But still, I asked: "How do you know that?!" She answered, "Because it is so obvious. Go home, look in the mirror, and you will see that your belly button is to the right side of your tummy."
Sure enough, she was right.
My belly is crooked, people!
How was it that I look at myself in the mirror everyday and not see that my entire torso was lopsided?! Like Avis said, it was so obvious.
I am that person in James 1 who looks at herself in the mirror and yet I do not understand what I see. And I forget what I look like the moment I walk away.
At our church, there are two bathrooms. The smaller bathroom has a mirror that made people look thinner. The bigger bathroom has a mirror that made people look fatter. Guess which bathroom I like to use?
We choose to see what we want to see.
We want to see ourselves in the best light. We want to look thinner or taller or more in shape. We want to look symmetrical. Belly buttons should be in the center (is this too much to ask?!). We want to see ourselves as good people, who commit very few wrongs. And when we are wrong, there must be good reasons (a.k.a. excuses) for our mistakes.
Hans preached on Psalm 33 two Sundays ago. He concluded with a point that went straight to my heart: the upright and the righteous are not those who do not sin. Rather, the upright and righteous are people who see themselves as they truly are — sinners who cannot save themselves. Therefore, they hope in the steadfast love of the Lord.
The object of their their hope defines them: What are you beholding?
Scripture is like a mirror. It reveals our true selves. It reflects our crooked hearts. We do not love God with our hearts, minds, and strength. We do not love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We cannot do or be better tomorrow, because we are crooked and twisted to the core. When I attempt to destroy my idols, I only make new ones.
So we pray as David prayed,
Lord, create in us clean hearts.
A bold request. We ask for nothing short of a miracle. To ask God to do in us what he did in the beginning — to create something out of nothing. We ask our Lord to do this, not because we deserve anything, but because of his steadfast love.
In your mercy,
oh Lord, remove the scales from our eyes.
Help us to see our crooked ways,
twisted and deformed.
Create in us clean hearts,
that we may trust in your steadfast love.