Anyone who knows what last summer was like, knows that my usual routine was seriously disrupted. In three months’ time, I had 28 doctor appointments, a full-blown surgery, and a dozen more procedures. Getting a haircut was the last thing on my mind. In fact, most of the time I could not have cared less how my hair looked. But then it started falling into my face and getting in my eyes, a serious problem for someone with “two very sick eyeballs,” as one doctor put it.
So about the middle of July, I cut it myself.
The problem with giving yourself a haircut is you cannot see the back of your head. No matter how much you twist your neck around, the back of your head just keeps getting away from you. And holding another mirror only works if you have three hands—one to hold the second mirror, one to hold your hair, and one to hold the scissors.
So I found myself doing a lot of guesswork. Having curly hair hid most of the mistakes, but is it any wonder that by the first of September my locks were looking a bit ragged? I could hardly wait for someone who could see me from their perspective to even things out a little bit—well, a lot, actually.
Isn’t it funny that the last thing we want spiritually is for someone to help us even out our lives? For some reason we do not mind going around with ragged lives, and worse, we want to believe they are not ragged at all. We want to believe that what we see about ourselves is the way things really are. Please pat down my unruly curl, please tell me to get the green out of my teeth, please unfold my hem, please stuff that facing back into my neckline—you are not a true friend if you let me go out in public this way—but do not under any circumstances tell me my faults, my spiritual imperfections, my sins. You are not my friend if you do tell me about those.
Could we be any more illogical? Why is how my hair looks more important than how my soul looks? The eternity caused by a spiritual imperfection is a whole lot longer than the embarrassment of half a day in town shopping with a physical imperfection. We are falling into the sin of the Galatian brethren of whom Paul said, So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? Gal 4:16.
James tells us that we should confess our faults one to another, 5:16. If we were to call an assembly of the church for the express purpose of allowing everyone to confess their faults in turn, I wonder how many would show up. I wonder how long the service would last. I wonder how many people would suddenly become good students of the scriptures, researching all the words in that verse so they could find a way out of it.
Unfortunately, most of us do not have “the gift to see ourselves as others see us,” (apologies to Robert Burns). We do not have three hands to hold the mirror and the hair, and make the correct cuts. That is one reason God gave us each other. Don’t you think it’s about time we started accepting that gift from one another?
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful, Prov 27:6.