Smile or Frown?

It's a matter of perspective.

"Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you."

If labels come from judgements of comparison,
a perception of a person or situation
from the vantage point of limited perspective,
what have men named you?

"You're so like _________ "
("the lady with the mystic smile").

Things are not always as they seem.
... Nor are they always as simple.

If we can't trust even our own best judgement;
then why do we pay attention to the judgemental voices of others?
And, why do we judge other people at all?

Sometimes we're too removed from a situation to know all the facts.
Sometimes we're too close to be objective.

1 Corinthians 4:3-5 says,
"I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed,
I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God."

These were a few of the verses I was memorizing at the time I was visiting Raleigh, NC where this reproduction of Mona Lisa made from 5184 spools of thread is on display in their local gallery.

Too often my emotions have transposed Paul's word to sound more like this:

"I care very much if I am judged by you; indeed, I even judge myself.
My conscience is not clear, but that does not make me guilty. After all, I am my own judge, except for when society judges me. Therefore I will judge everything on my present perception; not waiting until the Lord comes but rather listening to the latest popular poll that will keep hidden what is in the darkness and not expose the motives of my heart. Rather, it will bring to light any physical assets and superficial qualities while exposing and magnifying any external flaws and blemishes. Right now, I want my praise from men."

When you look in the mirror,
do you smile or frown?
What image do you see?

If we're impressed with ourselves because we've compaired ourselves with others and thought ourselves supperior, maybe we should turn that smile upside down.

If we feel inferior because of this globe's convex distortion of success and beauty, it's time to invert our thoughts to a more accurate view.

Looking into the mirror of God's word, we can see ourselves for who we are. Then, if we come away, not forgetting what we look like, we will be able to confidently echo 1 Thessalonians 2, "We are not trying to please men, but God, who tests hearts. We (are) not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else."