Which do you spend more time looking at, the mirror or the window?
Once there was a person who lived in a modest little house. On one wall there hung a mirror right next to a window. Every time this person passed them by, they would stop and glance toward them and then go upon their way.
After a while the person became unhappy and unkind. They would often ask themselves why do people act the way they do and why aren’t things going the way they want them to go. Life in general became a struggle and the person felt they were stuck in a rutted path with little hope of getting out. No matter what they tried, they just couldn’t seem to lift themselves up and onto a smoother road.
Then one day, the person noticed, possibly for the first time, that there actually was a window on the wall next to the mirror. They started looking out the window to the world and people around them. One day, the person was looking out the window and saw an elderly neighbor struggling with some yard work. The person hurried outside and helped the elderly neighbor, who thanked them over and over for the kind help.
On another day, the person noticed a boy riding his bike when all of a sudden, a car drove by real fast and frightened the young lad. He reacted to the car and swerved his bike, striking the curb and crashing. The person ran out the door and down the street to the boy who was lying on the ground, crying and bleeding from a scraped knee and elbow. The person did what they could to comfort the boy and then helped him home to his mom, who also thanked the person over and over for helping.
The person noticed that the window had gotten very dirty over time, so they got out their cleaning supplies and scrubbed the window, inside and out, until there wasn’t a single speck or smudge to be seen. Putting the cleaning supplies away, the person hurried back inside so they could look out the window and really see what was happening.
The person began to realize that it gave them a good feeling when they saw others in need and helped them. It wasn’t long before other people started treating the person kinder than they had before. They would wave and say hi, where before they would often turn and look the other way.
Life in general seemed happier and brighter. The problems that came up didn’t seem as stressing as they once had. The person actually looked forward to looking out the window at everyone else.
One day, as the person was walking to the window, they happened to notice that there was a mirror hanging on wall next to the window. The mirror was now covered in dust, smudges and didn’t reflect very well. It was then that the person realized that all those years of unhappiness and struggle had taken place when they had been looking in the mirror and focusing on themselves. But once they started looking out the window at others, their focus changed and so did their life. The person thought about cleaning up the mirror so that it once again yielded a bright reflection, but after a few moments thinking about it, the person walked over to the closet and gently placed the mirror behind a box on the floor. Closing the closet door, the person, with a big smile on their face, eagerly returned to the window where they could focus on others instead of themselves.
Today’s society wants you to spend your time focusing on the image in the mirror. The world stresses that it’s all about you and what you can get from others and the government. You are what’s important and your needs supersede those of others. It makes people feel like they are entitled to as many privileges and handouts as possible. Spending too much time looking into the mirror only leads one to think of me, me, ME!
But Jesus taught us not only by His words but by His actions, to look out the window and focus our attention on others. As Creator of the Universe, He had every right to demand to be treated like the king of kings. Instead, he washed the feet of his disciples. In the culture of that time, this was one of the lowest and most disgusting jobs reserved for slaves and people who were indentured to pay off a debt. Yet, Christ lowered Himself to the lowest of the low. He showed us that our focus is out the window and on others.
I use to spend my time looking in the mirror and I can tell you that I was a miserable person to be around. I was angry, harsh, bitter and snapped at almost everything. I would find myself staying up nights worrying about my needs and how I was going to fulfill them. I didn’t like people and I really didn’t like myself.
Then I met Jesus Christ and learned from His example. He taught me to look out the window at others instead of looking at myself in the mirror. My life changed. I wasn’t as angry or bitter. I didn’t snap at everyone nearly as much as I still sometimes do. I also discovered that the more I looked out the window at others, my own problems didn’t seem as bad and life wasn’t so ugly anymore. I saw people much worse off than I was and learned to not only appreciate what little I had, but how much better I felt when I shared it with others.
Most Americans are too busy these days staring in the mirror and focusing on themselves. If more of us would start looking out the window at others and doing what we could to work with and help others, our nation would be very different. There would be far less people on welfare and walking around demanding government handouts. Learning to focus on others and their needs would eventually help the economy, create jobs, and save us from becoming more of a hedonistic nation than we are.
So, which do you spend more time looking at, the mirror or the window?