Just for fun, try counting how many times you see your reflection in a day. You might be surprised at how often we get a chance to see ourselves.
But have you ever thought about what it takes to see ourselves? Consider these (and feel free to add to the list):
- Location – we have to be in a place where we can see the reflection
- Mechanism – we have to have something that reflects
- Intention – we have to be looking to catch our reflection (other than just a fleeting glance)
In the modern era, it’s not hard to see our reflection. Mirrors and shiny surfaces abound, and most of us steal glances as the opportunities present themselves.
But I would contend that there is a life-changing reflection that we’re not seeing in the modern era. Proverbs says it this way:
“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.”
(Prov 27:19 NLT)
So… how does a heart reflect the real person? Why should we care? And what should we do about it?
The Human Heart
Catching a reflection of the human heart isn’t as easy as walking by a mirror. The heart is internal. It’s who we are at our core being when no one else is watching.
At its best, it contains the seeds of generosity, courage, and selfless love. But at its worst, it contains the weeds of greed, cowardice, and love of self. And if I’m honest, there’s more weed than seed in my heart.
It’s not that the heart is hard to see because it’s internal. Our hearts are regularly reflected by our lives, just as the Proverbs writer says. No, I think we choose not to see our hearts in that reflection because we don’t want to see what might be exposed there. We want to feel good about ourselves, we don’t want to acknowledge the darkness that lies within.
So while we may spend several minutes a day staring at a mirror, we spend very little time staring at our heart.
Why Should We Care About Our Hearts?
Ultimately the question boils down to this: do we want to feel good… or be good? It’s a question of authenticity: do we want to placate (or ignore) the darkness within, or do we legitimately want to make a difference in our hearts… and ultimately in the world around us through our lives?
If the heart is our default operating system, what would the world look like if all our hearts defaulted to what was good… right… just… and loving?
The norm wouldn’t be the violence, greed, and hatred we see on the nightly news. We wouldn’t have to attempt to solve the unsolvable problems of this world like the war on drugs, or the war on terror. Politicians wouldn’t have to pass hundreds of resolutions in a vain attempt to legislate morality (notice the external attempts at making people behave!).
The norm for a heart filled with grace and peace would be what? People’s lives… filled with grace and peace. Their lives would be a reflection of their hearts! And those people would, in turn, fill the world with grace and peace.
If we really want to make a difference, we have to address the core issue… the human heart. It starts with an honest examination of what’s in there for all of us.
But before passing my thoughts, I encourage you to spend a little time in reflection: what do you think is the best way to start that process of examining our hearts?
Do “location, mechanism, and intention” relate to examining our heart? What else helps your examination?
Then feel free to jump into the conversation via the comments… and stay tuned for Part 2 and some further thoughts!