Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Look in the Mirror - Becky

Today was the first day back to work this year for everyone at the mission. We spent it participating in an all-day seminar on Character, based on the materials we are working to implement in the schools here. Of the 7 character traits covered in the material, we went over 3 today: Respect, Responsibility, and Fairness/Justice. While these things are still fresh in my mind, I want to share a few thoughts (if random) that occurred to me during the seminar. (These are not necessarily things that were said by presenters; I am just sharing what has formed in my own brain based on what I heard.)

Respect - Respect is very closely tied to Love. The level of respect we show to people indicates what we think of them, much like a mirror. However, (the thought in this sentence comes from Benny Baker) we should respect people not because they deserve it but because we are respectful people. If we respect people more than they deserve, even though our human nature makes this distasteful to us, it actually makes us look better in the eyes of other people. People who are respectful of others tend to be those whom others want to respect.

Responsibility - As Christians, we all reflect God to the world. (See 2 Cor. 3:18, "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." and Matt. 5:14-16, "You are the light of the world... In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."). Unfortunately, we can never give an accurate picture of God because we are fallable humans, but it is our responsibility to present as accurate of a picture as we can. Of course, God is love, and it is our job to let the world know that God loves each person. The Church is supposed to do this by, together, embodying Christ, the ultimate personification of love. That is what it means to be the body of Christ.

Fairness/Justice - Acting fairly or justly involves not just being nice and considerate to people but weighing different ideas to be able to make wise decisions. For example, if someone commits a crime, the judge must evaluate the evidence, and once the person is found guilty, the judge gives a sentence that is in line with the severity of the crime. Or, in a situation where two or more people have opposing desires, a just authority figure would consider whose need was the greatest, etc. and then give out resources (or whatever) accordingly. In order to satisfy our inner sense of fairness, things that happen to us or to other people must match our perceived value of whomever they happen to. If we think we are of equal value with our peers but we are the only one who does not receive something positive, we feel slighted. However, if we place greater value on our leader, we will feel that it is appropriate for them to be the only one to receive something. With this in mind, for a person to be able to exercise justice in a given situation, they must know all of the facts. Whose need is greater? What value do the people involved place on themselves and on each other? What and how much have the people already received (of resources, attention, etc.)? A person wanting to be treated fairly would do well to communicate these things, but, by the same token, a person wanting to treat others fairly can start by finding out these things.

These are just some of the ideas that stuck out in my brain. (And, like I said, these are mostly my own random thoughts, not just what was presented to me.) There is a lot more that I am still trying to process. I think we have begun to take an honest look in the mirror, and that has brought out things both to praise God for and to work on improving. I pray that he transforms us more and more into His likeness every day.



  1. Hi guys!! I've been reading your blog posts and am very happy that both of you are having fun. Happy (late) Christmas and Happy New Year to you both!!

    Susan (didn't know how to post without making it say anonymous...)

  2. Thanks, Susan! It's good to hear from you.

  3. Loving your thoughts, especially on respect. It's something I've had my mind on for a while. Prayers for you, Tommy, and the Lord's work.

  4. Thanks, Aimée. :) Yeah, that's (respect is) one that I'm really trying to work on. For me it can be so tricky at times because people can be sensitive about different things. I end up making people feel disrespected when I don't mean to. Our (North) American tendency to be sarcastic doesn't help with this either. ;)

    BTW, I will miss all of y'all at camp this year. :( I got Danny's e-mail and I felt sad.

  5. I loved your thoughts on responsibility, and especially those two verses you posted. The concepts you shared are what give my life the most meaning. The idea that I was made to reflect the glory of Christ is a magnificent one. Even though it can be overwhelming at times, I know that I would never want to live for a lesser purpose!


  6. I discovered 2 Cor. 3:18 one night at like 2AM when I was in the youth group, and I wanted to call Mike Epps on the spot because I was so excited about the concept. Ever since then, the ideas about light and mirrors have been sort of my pet metaphors. Now that I have added the whole body of Christ thing to that (actually, I'm pretty sure I got that from Lewis in "Mere Christianity"), I am finding it very powerful. I have a clearer picture than ever in my mind about the Church, though actually ACTING on it is much harder. Still, I think keeping the purpose of the Church in mind (to embody Christ to the word--which is all about showing them love and helping to bring them into a right relationship with God) helps us to remember what is important (and not important; it certainly makes our concerns about clapping vs. not clapping and other petty issues seem pretty silly indeed). If we want to show God's love to the world, we need to start by loving each other. If the body is not whole, we cannot properly do our job. On the other hand, it is still up to us to reflect God individually the best we can. Kim, I think you do a better job of this than most in your daily life (or at the very least you talk it up very well). :) As someone who is trying to do this too, it is inspiring to see your determination to live this way. The truth is, even trying to be good "mirrors" individually, we must bounce the light off of each other.