Have you ever noticed the mirrors on the side of car doors? Do you know what they’re there for? Ever wonder how often you’re supposed to use them?
Grandpa Webster always told us we should look at our mirrors as often as we look out the windshield. At work they tell us to use our mirrors every few seconds. The Apostle Paul said that he forgets what is behind him so he can strain (give his full attention) to what is ahead; “the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
So who’s right? The best answer I can give you is: it depends on the circumstances. When you’re driving it’s always good to know what is going on all around you, so using your mirrors to see what’s behind you is very useful (especially if there are flashing lights on top of the vehicle coming up on you). In life we should be learning from our past mistakes, so an occasional glance back to remind us of those lessons is wise.
Please observe that I said “an occasional glance back”. Too many times people will focus their attention on something that has happened in their past to the detriment of their forward progress. This most often occurs in relationships, one party will not let go of an event, or events, of someone else in their life. This is especially painful to see in a marriage where two can’t stay as one as long as this is practiced. Let me interject that I’m not talking about gross abuse by one partner. If that is happening to you, then, by all means, separate yourself, and all others who are being abused, as quickly as you can until the issue is corrected!
I’m talking about mistakes that were made and there is no way either party can change what has happened, and the event is not being repeated. Please, talk this through with your partner. Be sure that reassurances are sincere, then move forward in your future together. It’s the only way you are going to find happiness in your union, and peace for your life. You may have to accept some things as simple character traits of your friend that you need to make personal adjustments for (you don’t really want them to be just like you, one of you is enough).
With that being said, there are times when you do need to focus your attention on your mirrors. I do that every time I’m backing up to a dock to deliver, or pick up, freight. It keeps me aimed at the desired target in a safe and effective manner. In life we do need to focus our attention, occasionally, on events in our past in order to work through the issues that are causing them so we can correct them. This can be as simple as a talk between the affected parties, or as intense as professional sessions, it will depend on the issue and the extent of the problem in getting to the root of the issues being dealt with. I find that the old sin of selfishness is usually the main culprit.
Women naturally talk things out with other women to clear things up in their lives. Men are stuffers, we hold things in and just plod on with our lives, getting through life one day at a time the best way we can. My Dad never made it a habit of talking to his kids about much of anything (with the exception of politics, and the Detroit Lions; Mike and I always hoped they would win a Super Bowl while he was alive, now we’re wondering if they’ll ever win one in our lifetimes). I now belong to a church that has groups of men who meet regularly to work through the issues we face in life. If you don’t have one in your church then I urge you to start one. Keep the Bible as your guidebook and hold each other accountable for the things that you do daily. I believe you will find the experience life changing.
Of course we have mirrors in our house too. The main purpose for those mirrors is to let us get a good look at ourself (I know, it’s not always a pretty sight, but we still have to look). We are not always the best judge of what we look like, sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Women will frequently use make-up to change the way they appear to others to cover the inadequacies they perceive in themself. Most of you don’t need as much as you use. I think that if you work on developing your inner beauty then you will feel better about the way you are presenting yourself to others, and, therefore, will feel the need to cover up your true self abated.
James uses the metaphor of looking at ourself in the mirror and forgetting what we look like, as someone who does nothing about what we see that needs to be fixed when we read the Bible and go along in our sinful life without making the changes God calls for. How do we expect our life to be fruitful for Jesus if we live strictly for ourself?
There lies the answer to all of life’s dilemmas. I like to view the Bible as God’s owner’s manual for people to live by. After all, He’s the One Who made us. Why wouldn’t He give us a guidebook to help us make it through this battlefield we call life? Please use it to find out what He has to say about the issues that you are facing in your life today. It’s in there, I know it is. There are people who invest years of their lives studying that Book to help you find the answer you need. Many have written books on the topic. Just make sure they use the Word properly, read it for yourself to make sure they don’t mis-use God’s Word.
I’ll see you, later. Wade