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Gospel Reflections

It’s a common tool when teaching from the Bible, to say that the Bible is a mirror that allows us to see things in our lives that we wouldn’t see without it.  I’ve used this example when teaching to children, adults, teenagers, and when talking to my own family.  The Bible as a mirror.

It’s only when reading scripture that areas of our lives can be exposed for the unrighteousness that is within.  It’s true that the Bible reflects the mess in my life, in ways that my own eyes can’t see.  So the solution to this is simple, just stop reading the Bible and we don’t have to be confronted with our own personal horrors.  In fact it’s such a great solution that people have been doing it for thousands of years. I know people that won’t attend funerals because it means they have to set foot into a church, and they won’t set foot inside a church because they feel guilty immediately after hearing scripture.

But there is another sort of reflection that shows up in our lives that only others can see.  It’s the Gospel reflections that we have the opportunity to display every day. Every day we have the chance to demonstrate support for others, even though they haven’t deserved it in anyway.  Every day there are severely unlovable people that need love from us.  Every day there are chances we have to let our actions, heart, and words reflect the Gospel in real-life ways to those around us.  The every day tragedy of believers everywhere is that instead of reflecting the Gospel to others, we often reflect our own need for it.  It’s there with us all the time.

We think others should love us for what we’ve done for them. This is not the Gospel.  Instead we should be giving the very thing others don’t deserve, love.

We act as if we are owed the support of those we’ve supported in the past.  This is not the Gospel. Instead we should continue to offer second-chances to those least deserving of it.

We  respond to the hurtful words of others with our own hurtful words, because this is what “standing up for yourself” is supposed to look like.  This is not the Gospel. Instead we should be willing to let others have their say, knowing that eventually all that’s true will be found out; and instead spend our time standing up for those with nobody willing to do so.

I’m a man in need of the Gospel reflection more and more everyday.  It’s a part of my life that I often cast my eyes away from, yet as I put myself in the situations and positions that require a Gospel-only response; I’m learning to reflect this great story.  I received something that took me from a bad place to a good place through no actions of my own.  The Gospel.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.