the enemy in the mirror … yet love endures

When you look at this picture what do you see?

Yes, that is bird poop all over the side of my truck and my mirror.  And I’m not sure how clearly it will show in this picture, but if you look closely you will see claw scratches all over the window and especially the mirror … what’s up with that?

(a Google Images download)

When I go to my folks’ cabin in the mountains … there is a red cardinal (like the picture above) that spends the entire weekend attacking my side-view mirrors.  Both mirrors look just like the one above or worse.


Apparently cardinals are very territorial … and when he sees his reflection he sees … the enemy in the mirror.  I go the following off an Audobon web site:

“When a territorial bird, accidentally sees its image in a reflective surface such as a window, or in the mirror or bumpers of a car, it perceives its reflection as a rival in its territory and it tries to drive the other bird away. Birds apparently do not have the ability to reason or comprehend the concept of reflection. To a male cardinal, its own reflection is as much of a rival as real cardinal would be.”

For me personally, the word accidentally is a bit out of place.  This bird has attacked my mirrors the last four consecutive trips.  And my folks have to keep wash rags around their side-view mirrors secured with rubber bands or they are constantly cleaning the sides of their vehicles.  So while this bird may not be able to comprehend what he is seeing in the mirror, he remembers that his enemy is found in the mirror …

There have been a couple of messages for me in the midst of this peculiar encounter with nature and mirrors … First, how often looking in the mirror before I was born again did I ever see myself as the enemy of myself and of the very one who is my Savior?

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.  Romans 5:6-11 (ESV)

And even now, how clearly do I see and comprehend who I am when I see my reflection in the mirror? Is what I see a reflection of a spiritual transformation or simply the continuing natural man?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.   For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  James 1:22-24 (ESV)

Way too often that passage of Scripture describes my personal encounter at the mirror … and yet Paul warns that now we see in the mirror dimly …

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:7-13 (ESV)

Despite the very fact that now I only see in part … the good news is that I have been … that I am fully known by Christ Jesus and His love endures!  Good news, indeed!

Thanks for prompting the lesson Mr. Cardinal …


About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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