Every Friday morning at 7:00 AM, a few of us CURE ladies rendezvous at a favorite coffee shop near headquarters. We nonchalantly walk in, arm ourselves with coffee & breakfast, and, unbeknownst to every other patron, sneak off to the safety of the back room. Why? So we can talk about a letter we read from a man we’ve never met. Scandalous, I know, but it’s nothing compared to how scandalous people thought our author, James, was.
None other than Jesus’ half brother, James wasn’t a “beat around the bush” kind of writer, and I doubt Hallmark was begging him for feel-good greeting card ideas. He doesn’t play around on the surface of things, but rather puts his mask on and dives down deep, right off the bat…
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25)
Our gal pal, Beth Moore, who vicariously joins us in that back room and who I could stand to B.Moore like in terms of knowing the Bible, commented on this passage by introducing the idea of “genesis,” the Greek word that might very well trump the “natural” or “own” face in the text. She puts it better than I would ever paraphrase, so…
“If genesis carries the deeper meaning, the reflection in the mirror would not only reveal grime or sore. It would also remind the gazer of his true identity, bringing conviction with an upward spin: I want to be who I was created to be: a bearer of the very image of God. Sadly, however, he goes out and forgets who he really is… We were created to be satisfied with nothing less than the fulfillment of our original purpose.” (Beth Moore – James: Mercy Triumphs)
I couldn’t help but think of our kids in our hospitals. Every negative look they get, every discouraging word they receive, those become the mirrors their families, villages, tribes, and nations give them to reference. Obviously, the problem with those mirrors is that they’re surface level, shallow, and flawed in their ability to reflect truth. They show you only what you think you deserve to be shown.
So which mirror did you choose to look into this morning? Which mirror have you been holding up to others? When we look into a genesis mirror, its thick coating of grace covers up who we were but also shows us who we can be. It reveals our original purpose and our divine potential, arming us with the grace that not only paid our debts but made an investment in our futures.