Thursday, November 13, 2008

Through A Glass Darkly

That's the well known phrase associated with 1 Corinthians 13:12 in the King James Version:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
But I've been reading The Message which has the same verse:
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
Surely I have no problem with the traditional interpretation of the verse which is that we don't see reality very clearly yet but one day we will.

But I was interested in the context and have been thinking about it for several days. The thing that strikes me is that the word translated glass is more properly mirror. Most everyone agrees with that apparently and many of the modern versions actually use mirror such as the NIV.

The entire 1 Cor 13 passage has to do with the surpassing excellence of love far exceeding any other spiritual gift including tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, charity, and even martyrdom.

Then there is a list of actions that love does not and another list that love does.

I like the idea of looking in a mirror which means, I think, looking at my own life in its entirety.

Who else does one see in a mirror after all but one's own reflection?

It is not clear to me exactly who I am or what I really think or sometimes even my most basic core values. I think I know but often when tested I surprise myself. Sometimes I surprise myself favorably and more often not.

That's all just to say that I really do not know myself very clearly at all about an entire spectrum of things and especially spiritual ones.

I've spent some time and money trying to find out some of that stuff about myself with psychologists. Others I know have spent a lot more time and money. There are a few people I know who should have.

At one time I thought this verse meant that at some future time I would know other people as well as I know myself. But I see that's entirely wrong. I am glad it is wrong actually because I wondered if I would really want someone else to know me that well or if I would want to know someone else that well.

One day in some future I am going to know myself as well as God knows me now.

And He knows me completely.

That's new insight for me. Cool.


Lori1955 said...

I like the idea of a mirror too. It's strange how we often say that people don't really know us when the fact is that we don't really know ourselves. And delving deeper into who we are is scary too as I worry I might not like what I find. I wonder how God sees me. I sure hope it's better than how I see myself. ;)

~Betsy said...

I rarely can see myself clearly. Life gets too busy sometimes and I lose sight of things. But it's good to know God sees me.

Thanks for making me think - again!