Friday, August 22, 2008

Smile for the Camera!

"I'd rather have all my teeth drilled at the same time than have my picture taken." So says a friend of mine. "I always end up looking horrible."

A lot of us feel that way. Personally, I don't like posing for professional photographers because the way they joke around with you is designed to generate an artificial laugh, usually at the expense of someone else in the picture who's being ridiculed. "Yeah, that's it. Put your arm around her and pretend you love each other." Obnoxious!

Then when you get the pictures back you say, "I don't like the way I was smiling in that picture. My eyes look like I'm sleepy. Why didn't I comb my hair before taking the picture? Do I really look like that?"

The real reason we don't like looking at ourselves in photographs is that we're not used to seeing ourselves that way. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we are actually seeing a reverse image of ourselves. It's the reverse image that we get used to seeing. It's the reverse image that feels normal, but that's not the way we really look. The way we really look is the way we look to other people--or the way the camera shows us.

If I could see myself the way other people see me, what would I think of myself? Would I be more critical, or less critical?

Genesis 6:8 says "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Now, I realize that I'm stretching the scripture a bit here, but let me suggest that it really is in the eyes of the Lord that we find grace. They say we're our own worst critic, and I think that's probably true. They also say the camera doesn't lie, and that's pretty likely as well. So whether we look at ourselves from our own perspective or from another's outside perspective, we're liable to be disappointed.

Where can we find grace? In the eyes of the Lord.

When we are finally able to look at ourselves through God's eyes, we'll have grace for ourselves. We'll forgive all those imperfections that God has already forgiven.

Now, if the rest of the world could just catch up...