Where are you looking for your reflection?
Have you seen the movie "Finding Nemo"? If you have, you probably remember one of the friends Nemo makes along the way. She's a fish named Deb, and what's funny about her is that she believes her reflection is actually a twin sister, a fish she calls Flo.
Giggling at Deb's confusion in "Finding Nemo" was fun, and it also got me thinking about reflection. I love this word because it's one of the best ways of describing the relationship between God and each of His children. Each of us - you, me, even someone halfway around the world - is God's reflection. The Bible tells us this first in the book of Genesis. It says, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27).
To say that we're made in the image and likeness of God means that whatever God is, we are, and that whatever God isn't, we can't be, either. That means that all the strength and flexibility and intelligence that belong to God are reflected by each of us. And anything bad, like sickness or sadness or grumpiness, isn't a part of who we are because it isn't a part of who God is. Just as your image in a mirror looks just like you, so God's image must be like Him. That's reflection.
But what about those days when you feel sick or sad or grumpy? Does that mean you aren't the reflection of God anymore?
No way! But you may be using the wrong mirror.
I found this out when I was having problems with someone at work. For a long time we'd gotten along just fine. But a few months ago, we started having little disagreements. After a while, I didn't like being around her at all because I felt as if we could never agree. I didn't think she was treating me very nicely, either.
One day as I was praying about what was going on, I suddenly remembered a line from one of my favorite hymns. It goes like this: "Where the floods of trouble flow/ Find Thy perfect, calm reflection" ("Christian Science Hymnal," No. 85). I felt that this hymn was asking me to see that this person was God's image and likeness, even when it seemed impossible.
But just as it's impossible to see your reflection clearly in a fast-moving river, I wondered how I could look at my co-worker and see "the image and likeness of God" when she wasn't acting very nicely. That's when I realized what this hymn was telling me. It wasn't a new reflection I needed to find. What I needed was a new mirror.
Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who founded this newspaper, talked about the kind of mirror we can use to always get the right image. She wrote, "Call the mirror divine Science, and call man the reflection. Then note how true, according to Christian Science, is the reflection to its original" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pages 515-516).
To me, Mrs. Eddy was saying that in order to see each person as God's image, we can't just look at the way they're acting. What we need to do is to look at the way God made them and focus on that image. As we do that, we'll see that "the reflection [is true] to its original." In other words, we'll see that not one of God's children could ever be unlike Him.
And you know what? Using this kind of mirror really works! I know, because it's the mirror I started using, even when I didn't think I liked my co-worker. By seeing her as God made her, I was able to love her all the time, instead of just some of the time. And before I knew it, we were getting along better, too.
At one point in "Finding Nemo," Deb gets worried because she can't find Flo anywhere. Of course, Deb's reflection hasn't actually disappeared. It's just that the sides of the fish tank are too dirty for her to see her own image.
The good news is that the mirror of divine Science never gets dirty. It's just that sometimes we forget to look at it. As soon as we do, though, we'll find something wonderful. God's reflection is always there, and it's telling us the truth about ourselves and everybody else. Each of us is God's image. All the time. And that means we're good.