"I would like to begin by telling you a story. I call it the Man in the Mirror because a man was looking at his reflection in a mirror. Long greasy hair, pale, splotchy skin, sagging flesh, bloodshot, empty eyes.
Hair streaked with gray. I suppose you could say he didn't look bad for someone who was 40. The problem was, the man in the mirror was only 24 years old. "Too many years of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, all night parties and a wild lifestyle had taken their toll in his life.
"The man in the mirror had actually surprised himself by surviving another drug deal. You see the man in the mirror was a drug smuggler. And lately he expected each deal to be his last. The life expectancy of drug smugglers wasn't very great, and when the smuggler was also one of the biggest users of the illegal drugs it made his chances of living even
"As the man in the mirror looked at his reflection he honestly did not even recognize himself. Part of it was probably because he had not slept in over three days. Having survived another drug deal he celebrated by three straight days and nights of wild parties.
"So that was part of the reason he did recognize himself, but the other reason was he also did not recognize the man he had become. The man in the mirror had many names. Some of the people who knew him called him thief, back-stabber, slime, traitor. And when he went walking anywhere -- down the street or through an airport -- and someone called him by name he had to fight the instinct to turn around immediately. He had to wait and figure out if he recognized the voice and try to remember which name he was using this week. His life depended on it.
"Now all his 'friends' had left and he was alone. Just he and the mirror.
"The reason he was looking into the mirror was simple. Drug users frequently use a mirror, or piece of glass, to put down more cocaine and then form it into a long track or line. Then they use a short straw or rolled up dollar bill to snort the cocaine into their nostrils.
"And that was what he was doing. He was standing over the kitchen sink and already had the cocaine formed, and was just about to take a snort when he noticed - for the first time in years - the man in the mirror.
"And he suddenly realized, something inside told him, that this would probably be the last time he ever used cocaine. He knew that his next high would be his last. His body was nearing the end of its limits and his heart couldn't take the strain anymore. Too many years of abuse had sapped the energy he once had.
"Suddenly he heard a voice. Not the little voice we all sometimes hear when we are about to do something wrong. This voice was different.
"It was a harsh, angry voice saying 'Do it. End it now. Finish it!'
"The man in the mirror had never heard the voice of God. In fact did not even believe in God. But he knew instantly that he was now hearing the voice of Satan. A clear audible voice.
"He was so startled -- and horrified -- that he dropped the mirror which shattered against the kitchen sink. Hundreds of dollars of cocaine ended up in the drain.
"The man in the mirror ran into the bathroom where he threw up again and again. Then he fell asleep on the bathroom floor beside the toilet and slept for over 24 hours straight.
"That was the last time the man in the mirror ever used drugs. But he hardly became a model citizen overnight.
"A few weeks later he had to run for his life because one of his former partners stole the money that was to be used to pay off the drug suppliers, and then told those suppliers that HE had been the one who stole the money. When he found out the drug suppliers were coming after him, he literally had less than 10 minutes to grab everything he could carry and escaped just minutes before the heavily armed suppliers burst through his door.
"In 10 minutes he lost everything. He now had nowhere to live, no friends left (the others had died from drug overdoses, suicide or were not quite as fast as he was), and no money.
"The man in the mirror had, in his short life, broken every single one of the 10 Commandments. Every single one! Including 'thou shalt not kill!' "
The speaker stopped for a few minutes, took a sip of water from a glass and looked out over the small group of men who were listening to him.
"I was that man in the mirror. The story I have just told you is my story."
The speaker then went on to tell about his life after that momentous day when he was forced to look -- really look -- at what he had become.
He met a girl and they began dating. One day she asked him to go to church with her. And he did.
He accepted Christ into his life that day but the habits of the past were still with him.
"I did not have a Bible," he explained, and since he was still a thief, "I stole a Bible from the church."
But the speaker began reading from that Bible, began attending church regularly, and soon begin associating with godly men.
He married that girl who invited him to church, and today they are leaders in their church. He teaches Sunday School, serves on church boards, has served on mission trips and witnesses boldly to others about what God has done in his life.
But despite all that God has done in this man's life, he was still haunted about something that had happened years and years before.
"I told you that I had broken every single one of the 10 Commandants," he said, then began explaining in detail.
"A couple of years before the day I looked in the mirror, I had a girlfriend. One day she came to me and said those two words that men like me never wanted to hear: 'I'm pregnant'.
"Not only did I not do the right thing, indeed I did not even know what was the right thing to do in those days, but I begin telling her that the child was not mine. I told her I knew she was sleeping with other men, and one of those was the father. The fact was I had no idea if she was seeing anyone else or not. I was just trying to evade
responsibility and was trying to humiliate her.
"I pressured her into having an abortion."
His voice breaking, the speaker continued, "I killed my first child. She didn't want an abortion, but I kept on and on until she finally agreed."
Years later as he began reading the Bible, that choice kept coming back to haunt him. He simply could not forgive himself for what he had done, the part he had played in the abortion.
"One of the really ironic things as I was to read later, was the price I paid for the abortion. The abortion was performed in the college clinic. And I paid 30 dollars. Thirty pieces of silver."
The same amount of money that Judas was paid to betray Christ was what the man in the mirror paid to betray his first child.
The speaker went on to describe how he was tormented by the thoughts of having killed his first child. He would constantly pray for forgiveness, but did not feel that forgiveness.
"One night I could not sleep. I had been up half the night, reading the Bible and praying for forgiveness. Finally in the early hours of the morning I fell asleep and had the most vivid, most realistic dream I have ever had.
"I was standing in a meadow covered with tall grass bending back and forth with a gentle breeze. It was a very bright day, but the brightness did not hurt my eyes. I suddenly realized that there was no sun. Instead the light seemed to come from the incredibly beautiful sky. From horizon to horizon the sky itself seemed to glow with light.
"In the middle of the meadow was a huge oak tree, and because there was no sun, there were also no shadows. I could see what was under the tree very easily, very plainly. There was a figure under the tree, and I began walking towards that figure.
"Suddenly the figure began running towards me.
"It was a young boy who looked to be about 10 or 12 years old. He had brown hair, and when I saw his eyes....I knew. Even before I really noticed the face that looked so much like mine, I knew. This was my child, this was my son. This was the boy I had killed.
"I began crying but the boy ran up to me, threw his arms around me and said, 'Don't cry Daddy! Don't cry. It's alright. I love you! And God loves you!'
"Then the boy -- MY SON -- took my hand and begin leading me over to the oak tree. When we were under the tree, he handed me something and said, 'Daddy, will you read to me?'
"I looked and in my hand was the Bible! Not just any Bible, but the Bible I had stolen from the church."
And so father and son sat down side by side under the oak tree, leaning back against the tree with a soft breeze blowing through the leaves.
With one arm around his son, and the other hand holding the Bible, the father began to read to his son:
"In the beginning God . . ."
- - - - - - - - - - -
The Will of God
The will of God will never take you,
Where the Grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the Arms of God cannot support you,
Where the Riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the Power of God cannot endow you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the Wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the Army of God cannot protect you,
Where the Hands of God cannot mold you.
The Will of God will never take you,
Where the Love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the Mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the Peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the Authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the Comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the Miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the Omnipresence of God cannot find you.
* Everything happens for a purpose.
* We may not see the wisdom of it all
* now but trust and believe in
* The Lord that everything is for the best.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
I wrote the story above after hearing the testimony - first hand - from the "Man in the Mirror" this past weekend. I can only pray that I have done justice to the story since I could not take notes at the time. And I can also only pray that the story reaches the person who needs to read it. I don't know who that person is, but have felt compelled to write
The speaker did not include the "Will of God" piece at the end but after finishing the story I felt -- very strongly -- that I should incorporate it into the story as well.