Finally! We have had some nice weather here in New England! We had a long, snowy winter here in Maine and then a very wet spring! Last week we finally got some heat and lots of sunshine. As I was driving around with my sunglasses on, windows down, and radio cranked a perfect song came on to crank it up even louder.
I know some of you might scrunch your nose at me for this, but I am a sucker for Michael Jackson. There are a lot of varying opinions of him. Yes, he had his problems (don’t we all?), but he was undeniably an amazing artist. He pushed limits and searched boundaries and made some great music while he was at it.
The song that came on my radio was “Man in the Mirror.” This is one of those songs that comes on and just about everybody can sing along with the chorus. It is just one of those catchy tunes. For those of you who don’t know this song here is the link.
Even if you do know it, I encourage you to watch the video, it is quite powerful.
We often look in our mirrors to see our physical appearance. We are often worried about how we look on the outside. Is our hair straight? Do I have anything in my teeth? Do these pants make my butt look big?
This song is about more than that. It is about looking at the inside and seeing if it up to par. Instead of looking at our physical problems, we need to look a little deeper than that. We need to ask ourselves something else. Are my morals straight? Do I have any evil in my heart? Does this attitude make my pride too big?
When you stop and think about what MJ is saying, it is a soul searching song. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. It makes you stop and think about your actions and what are YOU doing to make the world a better place.
This isn’t meant to be a condemning post, but I think it’s good for all of us to stop and think about our actions sometimes. We get so caught up in our every day life and what seems important at the moment, but when you take a step back, is it really?
When I started to think about what MJ was saying with his lyrics, I instantly had Bible verses come to mind that align with his message. The first one lines up with his whole chorus of the song which is “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. No message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.” If we look in the gospel of Matthew we can see Jesus teaching something similar.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt 7:3-5).
This verse always gets me. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, yet I know that sometimes I am. I know that sometimes I get so analytical about what other people are doing and how they are doing it “wrong”, that I forget that really my judgement is the worst thing in the situation.
We aren’t the ones that are supposed to be doing the judging. That’s up to God and Jesus to figure out. But it is our job to figure out where we can change our own attitudes. Is there something inside of ourselves that we don’t like? Is there something that I am doing that is hurting others? Something I am being selfish about? We can’t help others if we are doing it with a judgmental or bitter hearts. We need to first get our heart in a place that is generous and loving and then we can help others.
This song is about Michael looking around him and seeing all the hurt in the world. Maybe some of it was guilt, from having so much, but he even admits to being selfish, “I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love, it’s time that I realize that there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan, could it really be me, pretending that they’re not alone?”
We all are guilty of this. We all are selfish. We all struggle with looking out for ourselves before others. It’s part of our broken nature and therefore it takes a concentrated effort to NOT be selfish, but it is possible. God wants us to be generous and share what we have with others. Whether we have money, possessions, food, compassion, or a smile to give someone, it is all important and worthy in God’s eyes. “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16).
We can’t control how other people act or how other people treat us, but we can control how we act and how we treat others. If we look at the world and ALL of its brokeness – we get overwhelmed with how MUCH there is to do. It can seem TOO big for us, we are only one person after all!
That is why we serve a God who is so much bigger than us. We serve the God above all other gods, the creator of the heavens and the earth, the Almighty God. We serve Yahweh – who can see all the brokeness and see where we can help. We are his hands, feet, and mouth on the earth. We are the ones bringing the message of God to the world. Sometimes all it takes is being kind to someone to help them turn their life around. “And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another just as God has forgiven you in the Messiah” (Ephesians 4:32).
So instead of pointing fingers at how others are acting, how they are messing up your life, how rude someone else was, how hypocritical they are, how high and mighty your boss acts – instead of pointing the finger back at them, let’s change our attitude and try our hardest to start by changing our own ways before we want others to change theirs.
Let’s take a little advice from the late Michael Jackson.
“I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life it’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference gonna make it right.“