Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Magpies

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word [God's Word, the Bible] but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."1

Yesterday we talked about wheel-kickers. This reminds me of an attractive black and white bird (that is found where I grew up), called a magpie. Magpies are about the size of a small dove and are extremely protective of their young. If you come too close to a mother magpie's nest, you'd better watch out for your head as these birds with their long, sharp beak are just as likely to dive at you.

Magpies also have a strange but amusing habit. They spend seemingly tireless effort in repeatedly jumping into and pecking at their own reflection in the shiny hub caps of cars … never realizing that they are pecking at their own image.

Some people are kind of like that. When we habitually peck at, put down, and criticize others, we are reflecting an image of ourselves. Or, as the old saying goes, when we point a finger at others, we are pointing four fingers back at ourselves. Pity we can't see it—greater pity that we don't want to see it. It's so much easier to play the blame-game and project our problems onto others than to accept the fact that we are the problem. And remember, when we play the blame-game, we will "be-lame."

If we truly want to grow, become more whole and mature, we can start by looking at our attitude towards and treatment of others. If we have a critical spirit, an ongoing negative attitude, and repeated conflict with others, we can be certain that both the problem and the cure lie within ourselves.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, rather than 'pecking at others' help me to see myself in your Word and, not forgetting what I see and, with your help, confront and resolve my issues so that I become more and more like Jesus in every way. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. James 1:22-24 (NIV).

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