"I hate the way the kids at school talk to each other," mused Snapper as we drove to swim practice yesterday. "They use horrible, terrible words." She responded to my gentle prodding and revealed that "you're stupid" and "shut up" are choice insults on the playground. Over the next 20 minutes, I asked key questions that directed her heart toward God. I think I was successful in imparting some truth to her. I want to share with you what we concluded.
When you look in a mirror, you will see a reflection of yourself. If you make an ugly face and look in a mirror, you will see an ugly face reflected back at you. This is not a true representation of who you are, however. As a follower of Christ, I have a great responsibility. Because Christ lives in me, when other people look at me, I want them to see a reflection of Him. Other people will form conclusions about who God is based on what they see in me. When ugly words and attitudes come out of me, I am spoiling the reflection. And I am misrepresenting Christ.
Snapper deduced that because God is love, and because God is holy, words that hurt another person are not consistent with God's character. Saying "shut up" or "you're stupid" go against who God is, and should never be spoken. They spoil the reflection of God that others see in Snapper.
This spoke volumes to my 8-year-old daughter, who determined to be very careful with what she says to her friends. But it also spoke to me. As a parent, I have an even graver responsibility. My children are forming conclusions about who God is based on what they observe in me. When they look at me, what kind of reflection do they see? Lots to think on.