By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
Once Buffy got a splinter lodged in the palm of her hand. I worked carefully to get it out but with little success. Even with the help of the sunlight, I still couldn’t see the splinter well enough to deal with it.
Then the thought came to me: try the old magnifying glass. The magnifying glass had been used many times by the kids to look at “stuff.” I held it over the place on Buffy’s hand, and the same splinter that had been extremely difficult to spot was hugely obvious right before my eyes. I quickly got the splinter out of Buffy’s finger and she was back to normal in no time. I could not see the small splinter because my unaided eyes were not equipped to see it. Then when I looked through the magnifying glass, the splinter was so obvious that I could evaluate the situation and make it right once again. I just needed help to assess the real picture.
Sometimes Christians don’t behave as they profess. Sometimes the words that come out of their mouths are condemning and self-righteous. Those people need to go back to the book that defines what a child of God should say and do.
The Bible is sort of a magnifying glass that helps us see ourselves more clearly. The Bible gives us an authentic picture of ourselves. Through the Bible, God speaks to us and we can we evaluate our motives, hearts, attitudes, purposes and principles in light of the Bible.
Some people read the Bible and don’t apply its relevance. They read the words, play the religion game but walk away with nothing really changed in their lives. They are still hypocritical, still condescending and still self-righteous.
James wrote about just that. He contended that believing and acting are essential. The Bible is a guide for us in what to believe, and shows us how repentance and changed behavior should be the result of that belief. In addition, a person who claims to have Christ should have the humble attitude of the Savior. A person who is not relying on their own righteousness sees herself as lacking, unworthy and not in a position to pass judgment on anyone. A person who is really changed sees herself as one changed by the grace of the Savior. That is what she will see under the magnifying glass of the Bible.
James said: “For if a person just listens and does not obey, then he is like a man looking at his face in a mirror, and as soon as he walks away, he can’t see himself anymore or remember what he looks like.” (James 1:22-25).
We cannot see ourselves as we really are when we judge others by ourselves. Just like Buffy and the splinter, I did not have the eyes to see the problem in its entirety. I had to use a magnifying glass to evaluate the whole picture.
That is what the Bible does for us. We can see a real picture of ourselves by the use of the magnificent glass of the scriptures. So if I am in the habit of being haughty and self-righteous, I have to go back to the Bible to see myself as I really am — a sinner saved by grace. In that light I have no right to condemn or portray to others my own self-righteousness because it is a thing that is made up in my mind. The Bible with its magnificent glass on the soul can give us a very clear picture of ourselves and none of us are beyond the need of that.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org