Reflecting God's Glory

Are you an agent for good or for evil? Before you answer too quickly—think about the power of your words. Some of the most damaging things are done and said in the name of Christ. I’m sure that the people who say things that damage others are doing so with a feeling of righteousness and a sense of defending the faith. Many feel justified in their ill treatment of others because they feel they are defending truth. Before we decide that we never do this consider whether or not you have ever said anything hurtful about someone else. Of course, we all have--which points out the fact that we are all capable of sometimes acting in an “other than righteous” way.

Have you ever had something said about you that hurt you? All of us have. It never feels good. As a matter of fact, sometimes it seems like it might have been easier to have been physically assaulted than to have something in the form of cruel words attack you. When someone talks about you in an unkind way, there is no good response. What do you do?

Jesus gave us some wise counsel that is--well--a bit difficult from a human perspective to follow through with. He said, “If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other for them to slap also.” I have to admit, that’s not my first response. In the time of the Roman occupation that He was living in, it was common for the soldiers to “enlist” the help of someone to carry their belongings. Just think how the occupied people felt being treated like slaves. Jesus advice was that if they asked you to carry their belongings one mile, then go ahead and carry them two. (Matthew 5)

So it seems to me that we have a two-fold challenge. On the one hand, we are challenged with our response to negative treatment by others. On the other hand, we have the responsibility for speaking kindly and in love to all of our fellow travelers. This is quite a tall order. From a human perspective, I’d say it was quite impossible. Our very nature makes us proud. We take offense at unkindness. We are easily judgmental of others when we feel morally superior. What are we to do then? If one truly wants to be an agent for good and not for evil, it seems that we have a bit of a problem.

The problem is that we need a new heart, a new mindset and a new way of being in the world. The good news is that is exactly what Christ accomplished through His life. He didn’t ask us to do something that He wasn’t going to make the power available to us to accomplish it with. It is sometimes easy to stop at the idea that redemption from a sinful world has been provided for us. This is great news, but God also wants to turn us into nicer, kinder people in the process. As a result, He has promised to give us a new heart.

By looking at the reflection of God that I find in the scriptures and in nature I see a God that loves unconditionally and is patient and kind. If I look at that image every day and seek God with a heart that is sincere in its desire to change I am promised that I will reflect that same beauty. It reminds me of a beautiful scene in nature where a mirror image is created in the water of the mountain or forest that stands at its edge.

This is letting Spirit come into our hearts and minds and transform us into the reflection of the Divine. By coming to God every day I am able to access the power that God has made available to me through Christ. When I see the beauty that is before me, just like the body of water that reflects that beauty before it, I start to mirror the love and goodness of my Creator.

I am not the Source, I never will be, but I can reflect the love of God if I stay connected. Sometimes when you see a beautiful reflection in the water it is hard to tell the difference between the two images. The water and the landscape blend into one. I want to reflect the beauty of the face that I gaze upon every day in love and hope that it is hard to tell the difference between my face of love and God’s. I hope the same for you also.