Who’s Looking Back at You?

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” – Isaiah 35:5

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Have you ever been to a carnival, or an arcade, and spent time laughing at funhouse mirrors?

You look in … but who’s looking back? They sure don’t look familiar. Your head might grow gigantic … or shrink to the size of an orange. Your belly can expand to Santa Claus-like girth. Or your legs stretch like rubber … while your upper half contracts like a smashed soda can.

The mirrors are wavy or curved. They create exaggerated, comical distortions. It’s all in good fun. You walk away. Everything returns to normal.

Or does it? What’s “normal” anymore? Do we really know?

It’s easy to be confused. Society bombards us with distorted realities. The mechanisms are many.

Consider social media. Everyone is happy in those photos! No one ever looks sad or upset. They must have perfect lives. It’s easy to think, “Why don’t I?” or “What’s wrong with me?”

Workplaces can be challenging. You know that others are making more money than you. Some are even being promoted. Why not you? Again, what’s wrong with you?

Look at some of your neighbors – the perfect lawns, the shiny cars, the attractive spouses and kids. Why isn’t this you? What’s wrong with you?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. You’re fine, being your authentic self and doing your best to live honestly and humbly. These others are all faux funhouse mirrors, distorting your worldview and cratering your confidence. Don’t let them!

Focus on the real, not the wrong

What’s right? What’s wrong? What’s real? What’s distortion?

Maybe the Apostle Paul can shed some light, from his second letter to the Corinthians: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (4:17-18).

In other words, the external forces of judgment are irrelevant. They’re pointless. Don’t let these false gods of foolishness measure you.

There’s only one judge to be concerned with – and He loves you for who you are.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Think about the hypocrisy of social media. Does anyone post that their husband was arrested for drunken driving? Or their 16-year-old daughter is pregnant? Or that a family member is in jail for stealing a car, or robbing a convenience store, or worse?

Of course not! Social media is a false, shiny narrative. It’s complete distortion.

Work? The person who got the promotion seemed to have it made … until they got fired. Or left for another job. Maybe the grass really isn’t greener.

Oh, and your neighbors seemed to have it all together … until the foreclosure sign appeared. Or the police showed up after a loud screaming match. Guess the spotless lawn and nice vehicles were just … distortions.

Society distorts our perceptions at every turn. Ignore them. Instead, look through God’s eyes. Understand how He sees us … and his endless gift of accepting us how we are, where we are.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

You are God’s child. Nothing can take you away from Him! His unending love is real. Everything else is just funhouse mirrors.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Let the Mud Clear Your Vision

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” – Isaiah 35:5

Many, many perspectives change as we “mature.” Chief among them concerns weather.

Oh, sure – as adults, we enjoy walking, or biking, or golfing, or doing any number of things outdoors. At the first sign of rain, though, most of us run for cover. Heaven forbid we get wet!

Contrast this to when you were a child. Rain? Yeah! Find a puddle to splash in!

Even better if there was wet, muddy ground nearby. Mud is magnetic to kids. They love to jump in it, stomp in it, and do everything imaginable to get as dirty as possible. Bring it on!

Conversely, adults abhor mud. It dirties our shoes. Stains our pants cuffs. If it splashes onto a skirt or dress – look out. Someone is going to be really unhappy.

What happens when mud accumulates on shoes? They get heavy. Our feet stick. Pretty soon, we feel tired. Our progress slows. Again, no good.

Modern adults have no use for mud. Why, even its connotations in everyday speech are negative: A person’s reputation can be “dragged through the mud.” A fallen hero’s “name is mud.” Politicians attacking each other are “mud-slinging.”

Mud as a cure, not a curse

Jesus, by contrast, didn’t mind mud. In fact, he used it to cure a man blind from birth. Consider this passage from John 9: “’While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

The notion of using mud – mixed with saliva, no less – as a medical salve would terrify any practitioner of modern medicine. Yet, Jesus made it work. He used some really unpleasant ingredients to give a man his first-ever gift of sight.

Why did Jesus choose mud as his “medicine?” Is there a metaphor for how we live our lives, often oblivious to God’s will for us?

Cleansing our muddied existences

All of us fall short of God’s expectations. We do things we shouldn’t. Miss opportunities to do things pleasing to God. Unlike Jesus’s use of mud to grant sight, are we laden with “mud” that leads to these spiritual blind spots?

Mud is unclean. Isn’t this how we feel when we engage in activities we know are wrong? Is God reminding us of this, by making us feel “muddy?”

Similarly, when we go down these wrongful paths, do we not start feeling sluggish? Like there’s “mud” caked on our souls … similar to our shoes?

Do we have stains on our relationships with others, that we know should be cleansed … yet somehow aren’t? Is “mud” marking these as a reminder?

Maybe, just maybe, this “mud” opens our eyes to God’s will. What’s weighing you down, or slowing you, or making you feel less than clean? Can you identify the mud, and ask God to cleanse you?

Don’t curse the “mud.” God often uses unpleasant sensations or experiences to teach us. Sometimes, to humble us, as in Job 30:19: “He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes.

The mud is for your benefit. It’s there, ironically, for you to live a cleaner life. The man whose eyes saw for the first time would undoubtedly proclaim its wonderment.

Appreciate the mud. Learn from it. Even be like a kid again, and don’t be afraid to get dirty … knowing that God’s forgiveness will ultimately cleanse you.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])