All of us have mirrors and look into them every day to see how we look. Sometimes we are pleased, and at other times not so pleased.
In my Lenten Devotional reading today I was challenged to look at myself beyond what I see in the mirror. Day 9 in Paul David Tripp’s JOURNEY TO THE CROSS got my attention and nudged me to some self-examination.
The last sentence on the second page of the four page devotional stopped my reading and spurred my thinking. Tripp’s observation that “Anyone who argues against his [or her] own need of grace is in grave spiritual danger” (p. 56). We all need grace and most of us know it.
To further emphasize the point Tripp then called his readers to listen to what the Apostle John wrote in I John 1:8-10, “8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us” (NIV). I fully agree with Tripp’s assessment, “These are strong words, but we all need to hear and consider them” (p.57).
I can’t imagine that many people would deny that they have sinned, but Tripp reminds us that too often we “point the finger of blame” at someone else and “deny our own responsibility” (p. 56).
Tripp’s final paragraph pressed his point on me and gave me some direction I hope to take in the coming days and weeks and years. He begins the paragraph commenting on the season: “Lent is all about pointing the finger in the right direction. It is about humble self-examination, honest confession, and grief over sin that causes you to seek and celebrate the grace Jesus was willing to suffer and die for” (p. 58). And in his next to last sentence he spoke directly to me: “The more you see your sin, the more you will respond tenderly to other sinners and want for them the same grace you have received” (p. 58).
Don’t quit looking in the mirror, it’s ok to want to be presentable. But from time to time it is also good to take a look into our hearts.
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photo credit: jim.choate59 Lacy Fairy Tale Mirror 1359 D via photopin (license)
Bob, I really like the part about responding tenderly to other sinners. That is something that I definitely need to work on. I am better than I once was but not as good as I hope to be. There is certainly a a lack of tenderness in society today. On another note, I am glad that your family weathered the recent cold in your new home state. Wishing you good health!
A good reminder Bob. I have a problem with my compassion for people in general, but especially those I see as “sinners”. God has been so gracious to me, why do I struggle to be gracious to others? When I start going down that ugly path it is usually because I am not acknowledging my own sin. Keep em coming!
I am playing catch up on your posts. I suppose there was a reason I read this particular one now, as I have needed to decide to extend grace or be right with a family member. And God is not letting me off the hook until I do! Thanks for this.