As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.
He was a constant source of love, comfort and laughter. I count it a blessing to have known my great grandfather Robinson so closely during my childhood years. Very few children have great grandparents still alive and kicking while growing up. Well into his late 80’s, my “great granddaddy” came to live with us while he single-handedly built my grandmother’s house four blocks away from ours.
I was in high school when my family finally had to make the tough decision to place him in a local nursing home. Over the several months that he was there I made a number of visits to see him. Although his mind was quickly leaving us, his encouraging spirit and godly character never seemed to part from his presence. I am reminded of one of those visits when I read Proverbs 27:19.
Walking through the bright, florescent-lighted hallways close to his room, I encountered an elderly woman wearing a hospital gown and slowly wheeling her chair along the wall. From the distance I could hear her shouting obscenities at other residents and nurses. She placed her head inside each doorway and freely spoke her mind before moving on. When I passed her she reached out her hand and grabbed my arm. Following some choice words she let me go and was on her way. I didn’t think much about it until I had spent some time with my grandfather. I couldn’t help but to notice the stark contrast between him and the lady in the hallway. “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.”
I am fully aware that this lady’s mind was slipping away as her life came near to its end. I have to wonder, though, if her actions were not a reflection of the state of her heart. My grandfather’s life was a constant example of what it meant to be a godly individual. Even far beyond a time where he could control what he said or did, his heart still reflected the example of Christ. Although he may not have known what he was singing, the words to How Great Thou Art passionately filled his small room as we sang them together. I cannot not be certain from one encounter with an elderly woman that I had never met before, but I can imagine that the life she lived was quite different then that of my great grandfather’s.
Leaving the nursing home that day I had a better understanding of who I am. My lifestyle is not a result of the friends I surround myself with or the habits I am enslaved to; my life is a reflection of my heart’s condition. If my desire to serve the Lord is sincere, the place where change must start is not in my surroundings, but in my heart. May I ask you how your life measures up to the will of God? Are you discouraged by failed attempts to change your friends or your lifestyle? Let me encourage you to stop attempting to alter your friends or your habits without first evaluating the status of your heart. It is only then that you will have the strength to resist such returning temptations.
Your life is not reflected by those around you but by the state of your heart.