The Mirror Always Tells the Truth

James 1:17-27


17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Again, I’m going off-script, if you will, and using a different text than one of those assigned for today.


One of my son’s favorite cartoons is the one called Fox Trot. It is about a family with three children who pick on each other, as children do. The youngest boy, Jason, the brain of the family, teases his big sister, Paige, as often as possible.


One day, Jason is looking into a mirror and says, “Mirror, mirror in my hand, who is the handsomest in the land? Hey, it’s showing me!” Paige says to her brother, “Why don’t you ask it who is the stupidest?”


So Jason looks at the mirror and says, “Mirror, mirror in my hand, who is the stupidest in the land? Hey, Paige, now it’s showing you!” Paige says, “Bull, let me see!” 


In the story of Snow White we hear the evil stepmother say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” She believed that she was the most beautiful woman in the land and wanted her magic mirror to tell her so. But the mirror could not lie. “There is one fairer and more beautiful than you – it is Snow White.”

We spend time each day looking into a mirror. Some spend a lot longer time in front of the mirror than others, combing their hair until it is sitting just right, putting on make-up, checking for blemishes, shaving, and so on. Others take a quick look, pat down any unruly hair and walk on.


The mirror always tells the truth.

  • If you have sprouted a few more gray hairs, the mirror won’t be shy about telling you.
  • If you have bags under your eyes, the mirror will come right out and show them to you in their full glory.
  • If you have put on weight, the mirror won’t beat about the bush by telling you how great you look. It comes right out with it and shows you in glorious detail the extra bulges.


We look into the mirror first thing in the morning, and it doesn’t spare our feelings.

  • It doesn’t gloss over our defects and tell us we’re better looking than we really are.
  • In fact, the closer you get to the mirror, the more it reveals what we are really like.


Why do we have mirrors in our bathrooms, if it is only going to abuse us? As unpleasant as it may be to confront our own faces first thing in the morning, we know that if we don’t take a look at ourselves, and make some major adjustments, the rest of the world is going to see that morning face!

So we figure, it’s better to “face” the truth, and make the changes that are necessary to become presentable.


In the letter from James, God’s Word is compared to a mirror. It always speaks the truth. It tells us clearly who God is, what he expects from us, and what he does for us. Like the mirror, God’s Word is merciless when it comes to telling the truth. It reflects back to us the blemishes in our lives, the warts of failure, ugliness of sin and its effect on our relationships with others, and how out of shape we are in doing what God wants us to do.


James says, “If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like.”


So how does God see us? God knows you! Like a mirror and even better. And the good news is this – the one God knows is the one God loves. IF YOU HEAR ANYTHING TODAY – let it be that! When we ask, “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?” God’s Word comes back with the answer, “You are the fairest of them all!”


God’s mirror tells us that we are “the fairest of them all” because of Jesus, our Savior. Because of what he has done for us in his death and resurrection, we can look into the mirror and see ourselves without spot or blemish. Jesus has made us clean. On a wooden cross outside Jerusalem he sacrificed himself in order to get rid of anything that would mar our complexion in the sight of God. Through faith in Jesus, we are told that God has forgiven us. We are clean. We who are dirty and untidy have now been declared “not dirty,” “not guilty.” Because of God’s saving love, we are beautiful in his eyes; we are the fairest of them all.


Let us pray:

Thank you, God, for seeing me, knowing me and loving me. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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