A reflection on James 1:23-25.
I look in the mirror when I comb my hair. That happens once a day. Sometimes that’s the only time I look in the mirror. I look long enough to draw a line along a part that has been in the same place for more than forty years, since I went from crewcut to hair. I see the same round face, insecure eyes, staggered tooth that I saw four decades ago.
Sometimes I look in the mirror long enough to shake my head and move on. Sometimes I look long enough to scold myself or call myself a name.
My nose isn’t actually as wide as I believe it to be. My smile is less wry than I believe it to be. I look like my dad both more and less than I think I do.
But I seldom look long enough to see me. The facts as they are right now. And lacking the facts, remembering only the myths I’ve built, I find it difficult to act with confidence and courage and accuracy.
James warns us about this. Not for how we look at ourselves but for how we look at scripture. We glance at it and live our lives based on what we think we might remember. We part our heirs along straight lines.
Which means that we may miss the better way James suggests. Look at the law God lays out, not as legalism but as direction. As we look, long enough to reflect, he says, actually do what we read. See a forgiven face, and forgive. See a loved heart and love. See a healing wound, and heal.