In the dark hours of the morning yesterday, I found myself trying to wake up a bit more as I placed my personal effects into the “cubbie hole” of our local gym. The idea of sweating first thing in the morning wasn’t a pleasant thought, but the idea of dying early of a heart attack isn’t either. And this early in the morning there weren’t many people there at all, so at least it promised to be a place of pleasant and meditative isolation. Or so I thought…
As I moved my wallet, keys, etc. to the shelf, I happened to look up at the security monitor above the cabinet, which was hooked up to a video camera that was directed at my back and the space immediately behind me. And there it was, showing up out of nowhere, right behind me!
It was my bald spot.
OK, maybe it’s not yet a full fledged bald spot. Maybe it’s just a thin patch of grass on the lawn. But some days, when I happen to catch a rare glimpse, it looks less like a think patch of grass than a good place for the kids to dig in the dirt, unobstructed.
Yup. A bald spot.
Not that I mind so much. I have felt that the demise of my hair has been a foregone conclusion since I was a child looking at the heads of both of my grandfathers. (When my mom would recite “Fuzzy Wuzzy” to me, I always related to it for some reason…) In a way, I have been looking forward to the day of decreased hair maintenance, planning all I would do in the extra hours I would gain each day. But I digress…
The first time I had seen it was at a fellow minister’s house in Wisconsin. His family’s bathroom sported an angled mirror opposite the main mirror that allowed one a good view of the back of one’s head — for me, a first view in quite some time. That’s when I discovered it. My growing solar panel for a sermon machine.
Yet, it occurred to me that although that was my first time to see it, it was not the first time for my wife to see it. Or my kids. Or my neighbors. Or virtually anyone else who had seen the back of my head.
And that thought struck me as odd. Here was something, a bald spot, that was always with me, and yet (1) it was almost impossible for me to see without help (angled mirrors, security cameras, and the like), and (2) everyone else could see it easily and without any difficulty at all.
The Bible verse I am reminded of is Jeremiah 17:9 — “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Why? Because while not everyone of us has a bald spot, most all of us surely do have aspects to our lives, flaws of character or personality, that are visible to everyone else while simultaneously being completely invisible to us — even sometimes when we’re told directly about them! Maybe our spouse is warning us about our temper, and we deny we have a temper. Several people tell us we’re judgmental, but we don’t see it. (We’re just “telling things like they are” right?). Perhaps a friend has informed us that we are inconsiderate, but we know that’s not really the case. On and on it might go.
The thing is, while those people are not always right, sometimes they are. And our Jeremiah 17:9 heart is quick to inform us, “Oh, so-and-so is too sensitive (or too vain, or too irrational, etc.). Don’t listen to that!” Our carnal heart counts on the fact that we really can’t see that spiritual bald spot on the back of our heads to keep us blissfully ignorant.
Our ignorance, though, does not prevent others from suffering the effects of our failing character. Nor does it even protect us. And while it may feel good to feel justified in our own eyes, it is only the truth that can really set us free (John 8:32).
But there is a mirror that can help! God’s word and His law can help us to see that which we normally do not, as long as we are willing to act on what we see there. As James tells us: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23-25). God’s word has the ability to dispel the illusion cast by our carnal, self-deceiving heart, for “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It can even help us learn to listen to our spouse (Proverbs 12:15, 27:6, et al.)!
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there — just like a little bald spot on the back of your head, which everyone can see but you. Don’t let your spiritual bald spot catch you off guard!
If you’d like some help getting to know the wonderful mirror of God’s word and applying it in your own life, consider requesting one of our free booklets, such as The Ten Commandments or What Is a True Christian? You will be surprised at the difference it can make in your life! (And how many bald spots you might discover…)