Through a Glass, Darkly


Through a Glass, Darkly

Once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
JAMES 1:24 

"I'm writing this letter to tell you about someone I used to know."

In her letter, the woman described a man she greatly admired as she grew up. She had worked as a babysitter for this man's three sons. She was treated like a member of the family, often going with them on trips and vacations. This husband and father became her model of the type of man she wanted to marry. "During college, I dreamed of meeting and falling in love with someone like him—smart, generous, fun to be with, committed to helping others, a true godly man. By some miracle, God gave me just what I was looking for."

Now she was dismayed, because this man she had admired was about to walk away from his marriage and his children. "I'm trying to figure out what happened to this person I used to know," she wrote. "I can only hope he realizes that he's about to make the biggest mistake of his life." As you might guess, she sent this letter to the man she was describing. But it didn't work. He left his family and married another woman, and only while he was on his honeymoon did he stop to reflect on what he had done. And he wept as he realized what had become of this man that had once been so influential in a young girl's life.

Sometimes we lose our way. We forget who we really are. And thank God, He inspires some of the people around us to hold up a mirror and let us see who we've become.

If or when this ever happens to you, promise you'll look carefully at the reflection they offer. It might just save your life.

What can keep us from stepping into the lives of those we love and speaking the truth to them? Is God leading you to hold up a mirror to someone you care about?

Pray for the courage to speak the truth in love, while at the same time having the humility to embrace the truth about yourself.

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Taming the Dragon

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11

It can lie. It can gossip. It can slander. It can also murmur and complain. It can manipulate and flatter. It can tear down. It can paint itself in nice words, even while cutting someone to ribbons.

My friend Joe Stowell calls it "the dragon in our dentures." Our tongue. It can truly be deadly.

On the other hand, when that "dragon" is under the power of the Holy Spirit, when we are daily training it to be submitted to Christ's control and available for His use and purposes, He can transform it into an instrument that delivers encouragement.

I remember being in church one Sunday morning when I spotted a prominent local oncologist walking by. I'd been hearing about some special things he'd been doing with his cancer patients—some unique ways he was allowing God to minister through him in the course of practicing his profession. So I caught his attention and said, "Hey, I just wanted you to know I really appreciate what you're doing. Do you realize what an incredible minister for Christ you are? You're making quite a difference in our community."

It was like I'd hit him with a stun gun. A dazed expression flashed across his face. And after a moment's pause, he looked at me and said, "Really?" I said, almost laughing now, "Well, yeah. The things I've been hearing about the work you do are really inspiring. We could use a lot more Christ followers like you."

He shook my hand and smiled. "You don't know how much I needed to hear that this morning. Thank you."

I was reminded again how often people just need a nod of encouragement in their journey, no matter how confident he or she may appear to be. 

Shared a good word with someone lately?


Think about some things you've been noticing in others that are really worth praising. Slay the dragon and encourage them.


Ask God to make you and your words build up, not tear down.  


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