One Last Look in the Mirror

mirror.jpg"Telling the truth is to paint an accurate view of reality."


I am not sure where that line came from.  I am not even sure who said it.  I do believe these words.   Maybe it is like the passage in James that speaks of a person looking into the Word of God.  One could say that looking into Scripture is like looking into a mirror.  You may like what you see.  You may not like what you see.  James specifically addresses the person who looks into the "mirror" and sees reality and then goes away, unwilling to make any changes in his life (James 1:22-24).  The point is to see reality and then to deal with it.


The truth?  Some people manipulate.  Others love.  Sometimes, I am amazed at how many conversations I have with people regarding manipulators in families, at work and, yes, in church.  Some observations:


1.  "The big elephant in the middle of the room" is often ignored and after a while not even seen.  It is sort of like living in a house for a long time and no longer seeing scratches on the wall.  It becomes a part of the scenery.


2.  Self-centered, immature people have a way of draining the life and energy from people around them.


3.  Some people say they want to be loved but in fact they seem to only want to be with friends who agree with whatever they might be doing.  They want the "support" of a good friend.  That is understandable.   However, some people define friendship as agreeing with them in all of their decisions.  To disagree with such a person is to risk being labeled "not supportive."  Consequently, that friend may believe she cannot honestly express what she is seeing in that person’s life.  This friend may feel that whenever she is candid with this person, she pulls away.


4.  Manipulators do not love others.  They use others for their benefit.   They use others to draw attention to themselves.


  • "See how overworked I am." — Poor guy, we need to back off.
  • "What would this church do without me?" — Yea, I don’t know what we would do without you.
  • "With all of the talented people we are bringing on staff here, you will probably fire me one day." — Oh no, we’re not going to let that happen.  Then we begin to prop up his or her sagging ego.


Over and over manipulators do and say what will elicit a certain response.  The focus is not on loving other people.  The focus is on using others for his or her gain.


Then, there are those people who love.  They have a way of loving family, friends, and people in the church with a real love.  This is an honest, yet nurturing love.  These people love you and regularly do (or attempt to do) what is in your best interest.  Real lovers will love you with a sacrificial love.  They are looking out for you, not themselves.  Using you?  Not at all.  Relationship is not about self-interest with these people.


Some observations:


1.  People who love can be trusted.  Even when they are mistaken or do not handle something well in the relationship.  It was just that — a mistake.  It did not occur because of some manipulative ploy, etc.


2.  People who love are in some way imitating God.  Isn’t that where loving people originates?  


3.  People who love are "safe" people.  They do not intend to use, manipulate or hurt in any way.


4.  People who love do not need a lot of attention.  They are not forever turning a conversation back to themselves.  

I see both kinds of people in my world.  People who are difficult and others who love.  It is one thing to see this in others.   What is more important is that I see myself for who I really am.  Most important is how God sees me.   I think that may begin when I look in the mirror (James 1:22-25).

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “One Last Look in the Mirror

  1. Thank you Jim for another thoughtful post.
    Like you, I also have both types of people in my life (those who
    manipulate and those who love). As I grow older, I realize that I have
    been both at some point in my life. I strive to be trustworthy, “safe”,
    and loving. For the most part I am, but there are times when I have
    fallen. It is during my fallen times that I have experienced God’s
    grace and mercy. That He still sees me as a wonderful person. Since I
    have been given that, I have no reason but to do the same for my fellow
    human beings.
    When I look in the mirror, that is what I am reminded of.

  2. Motu,Thanks for your honesty and candor.  Even your frankness about your own fallen times communicates your heart’s desire to be a "safe" person.  Thanks for what you said.