The Mirror


When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Do you see beyond your flesh, your skin and bones? Do you see through your eyes to Jesus? To his love and grace for the human race? To the Father’s embrace for all his creation? Do you allow the Spirit’s light to shine through?

Are His commands to love important to you? Do you let His words fill you and overflow with words and actions to others? Love God, love your neighbors, love your enemies, love each other, let the world know you are His friend by following His commands to love unconditionally, with radical grace, with outstretched hands?

Do you love with a generous, unselfish, caring love, an undignified love, a compassionate love? Brennan Manning explains this kind of love so beautifully in The Ragamuffin Gospel (emphasis mine).

“The parable that makes this truth so obvious is the story of the prodigal son, the parable of the loving father. The emphasis of Christ’s story is not on the sinfulness of the son but on the generosity of the Father…The son had his speech carefully rehearsed, and he doesn’t even have a chance to say to his father, ‘I’m sorry.’

“There is a fascinating passage in chapter 8 of John’s Gospel about the woman caught in sin. She was caught in adultery. Jesus says to the woman, ‘Is there no one here to condemn you?’ She says, ‘No one, Lord.’ He says, ‘Okay, go and don’t commit this sin anymore.’ Get the picture? Jesus didn’t ask her if she was sorry.

“No, the love of our God isn’t dignified at all, and apparently, that’s the way He expects our love to be.”

Get the picture? Jesus didn’t ask her if she was sorry. No, the love of our God isn’t dignified at all, and apparently, that’s the way He expects our love to be. (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel)


If this isn’t you, or you find this kind of love appalling or frightening, do you see a false reflection of yourself, like Dorian Gray? And is there a portrait of you hiding in a mental attic somewhere, revealing your true self? The self you hide even from you.

The self that says you’re pro-life but only for unborn babies;

not for fearful immigrants running from genocide;

not for starving orphans fleeing for their lives;

not for the foreigners we are told to love;

not for members of your family who have made mistakes;

not for members of your church who you gossip about;

not for people who believe or behave differently than you;

not for the homeless on the streets of your own town;

not for the single elderly who live alone, awaiting a call, a visit, a smile from someone – anyone.

Is it time for a change?

(Thank you to “Mary” for the pebble.)

© 2005, Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, pp172-3, Colorado Springs, Co 80920

10 thoughts on “The Mirror

  1. There was an episode of the Twilight Zone where a special mirror was the center point. If you looked into it you saw your true self, not a reflection. Everyone who looked into it saw greed, envy, lust, whatever their sin. Then a young child looked into it and saw himself as a babe in his mothers arms.


  2. This is the second article tonight that I have read that touches so vividly on unconditional love. Isn’t sad that we get so caught up in semantics and words like “unconditional.” I COULD love you, but…….. There was no but……. with our Heavenly Father or with Jesus! There is no but……. with the Holy Spirit when we ask Him to empower us with His love; He takes us at our word.
    I had a chance to share with Sister M about forgiveness and what some have taught behind the pulpit. People don’t realize that love without the essence of forgiveness, or mercy, or grace (and yes even justice) is not love at all, but a concept that the world is so whole-heartedly willing to embrace. Yeah, I can love you, if it feels right, or I can or could love you, but……!
    Agape Love, Godly Love, Heavenly ordained Love is the only true love there is and IT IS unconditional. I am learning, even now, every day just how our Father wants us to love. We never quite arrive, we never quite make it perfect, but we press on, as the Apostle Paul states, leaving yesterday behind, ever endeavoring to love like the Father loves!!
    Don’t take this wrong, but the thought just came to me as I was still thinking of your article; leave it to a inspiring poet to paint the picture of REAL love so vividly with the turn of a few words. A gift, a calling, equipped to do, to show, to reveal by the power of the Holy Spirit! Thank you Sister Susan for the willingness to use and to share in that gift, and Thank You Holy Spirit for your empowerment to all willing to love unconditionally!
    God bless, Sis!


    • Thank you as always, Roland, for your love and encouragement. As you said above, “People don’t realize that love without the essence of forgiveness, or mercy, or grace…is not love at all”.

      As our sister M said, we cannot call ourselves Christians if we don’t forgive. We also cannot call ourselves Christians if we place conditions on love. And as you have said in other conversations, we must allow the Spirit to use us to spread this True Gospel in this online church.

      I pray the Lord is uplifting and healing you even as I write this. Love to you and your family.


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