Retouched

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

When i look in the mirror in our bathroom, unless i’m standing directly under the light, i see my hair as brown.

Now i know that it’s grey—i’ve seen pictures taken outdoors or onstage at Stonepoint with what feels like 10,000 watts shining directly down on my scalp, but in my mind, it doesn’t look all that differently than it did twenty years ago.mark

My perception is not really based in any sort of reality.

Now, before you chalk it up to ‘wishful thinking,’ i know other people do the same thing. When i take a picture of my wife, it can be really good…super flattering. She immediately sees everything wrong with it. A little smile line or tiny crow’s foot are neon signs on the Las Vegas Strip to her—literally the only thing she notices in something everyone else would consider a great photograph.

Some people do it with weight too, seeing themselves differently in the mirror, lighter or heavier than they really are. If we’re feeling bad about something in our lives, our view of ourselves can change with those moods. The flip side can occur when something positive happens. 

Our perceptions of ourselves are sometimes quite different than the way others see us.

Of course, nowadays we have the ability to use software, Adobe Photoshop and the like, to edit pictures to basically make things look however we want. We can take a photo of someone and smooth out wrinkles, touch up imperfections and generally airbrush the heck out of things until they look very little like what we started with. 

No one trusts magazine covers anymore because of this—we assume everything is altered. In fact it’s shocking when you see an advertisement or cover that’s noticeably not edited in some way.

Hollywood has done it for years. They rarely film ‘stories’ anymore without tricking them up with special effects and CGI—death defying stunts and things that couldn’t possibly happen in real life. Superheroes are the thing and regular stories aren’t deemed good enough for an audience anymore. (Although at the time i’m writing this, I Can Only Imagine is the number one selling DVD in America. So just maybe the studios don’t have their finger on the pulse of the viewing public like they think they do.)

Anyway, all this retouching has left us not knowing what to believe.

But there’s actually a grain of eternal truth for us in all this. If you’re a believer in Christ, God sees your life as ‘retouched.’

If you’re like me, and you are…you’re a dirty, rotten sinner, who has nothing good about you. At my core, i’m selfish, conceited, prone to wander, and a whole list of other adjectives that describe my natural inclinations, despite my relationship with Jesus.

God knows us as we are, but when he looks at us, he sees us through the lens of what Jesus did on the cross. He sees us as redeemed. He no longer sees us as adversaries, He sees us as saints.

Saints. Repaired. Restored.

It’s as if Jesus’ death on the cross has ‘photoshopped’ our sins away, so when God looks at us now, all those imperfections are gone. But even better than just ‘cleaned up,’ He sees us as ‘new creations.’ (2 Corinthians 5:17)

If we as believers, truly felt that way—if we embraced the idea in Ephesians 2:10 that we are all ‘God’s masterpieces, created to do good works in Him,’ how would that affect the way we live? How would it alter the way we deal with difficult people, those who God has not drawn to Himself, or maybe just not yet drawn to himself? People that God desperately wants in His Kingdom, but wants to use you and me to help get them there.

If God has retouched your life, he wants to use you to retouch someone else’s. That’s our true reality, and no matter how you see yourself in the mirror, and no matter what color you think your hair is, you can be a part of His redemptive work.

And you don’t even need to own a computer to do it.