Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Man on His Knees

So this morning a poem was brought to my attention called The Man In The Mirror. My first thought was that it was a song (thank you Brother Jackson), but I was corrected that it was actually a poem (and when I found the original version, its actually called the Guy in the Glass) which asserts, correctly, that we have to be true to ourselves. But the poem bothered me too, because it was missing a critical element. So I scratched the following out this morning in response. I don't think its very good poetry in that the meter and flow is pathetic, but it has what all 7th grade poets care about: RHYME! And more important, the message:

The Man on His Knees
(A response to Guy in the Glass)

Look into the mirror and you will see,
one who cannot tell,
Whether or not the soul its reflecting,
Is bound for Heaven or Hell.

For that man in the mirror may smile too kind,
Or scowl harshly at what he sees,
But there is One who always tells it straight,
When we come to Him on our knees.

For though a man ought to stand up straight,
And look himself in the eye,
The man in the mirror will not be the judge,
When homeward the soul will fly.

Often scared on our knees to ask that One,
What He doth require,
He'll tear down our pride, challenge our ease,
Or encourage our hearts with fire!

For then we will see as we are seen,
By One bearing the whole human race,
One who is neither too kind or too mean,
And not be deceived by our face.

So whether a saint or a dirty old sleaze,
That man in the mirror won't know.
The best you can have is a vain-hearted guess,
'Till down on your knees you go.

So, the picture I had attached was sending the wrong message, or at least throwing off the message of the whole blog post. I think its pretty good photoshop work though, so if ya wanna see it, its here.


  1. I didn't know you were a poet... Maybe you didn't either, but you are. And a very brilliant one at that. I thoroughly enjoyed this. :) Thank you for sharing.

  2. I like the poem, Steve.

    You wrote: "Look into the mirror and you will see / one who cannot tell / Whether or not the soul its reflecting / Is bound for Heaven or Hell."

    In the Gospel Principles manual it states:

    "The Apostle Paul taught that we ourselves are a record of our life. Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done. Presidency John Taylor taught this truth: ''[The individual] tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. ...That record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind, that record that cannot lie will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges."

    So maybe it does matter what the guy in the glass thinks, after all.

  3. @My Old Buddy: I agree completely with what you quoted, I draw my conclusion just the same: The individual can tell his story (even the true story) all day long, but at the end it is Jesus, not the man, that makes the call.

    Which is why JS-H 1:29, Enos 1:4-6, Alma 5, or Mormon 9 don't just mention going out and taking a good hard look at yourself.

    I would go so far as to say that I'm as grateful that Jesus is my judge, as that I am He is my Savior. Because though there is a personal element to both salvation and judgement, we as individuals become sick when we believe that we can perform the role of either Savior or Judge for ourselves.

  4. Steve,

    I love your willingness to discuss your viewpoints on these things. Here are a few more of my thoughts I'll toss into the ring:

    Alma 12:14: "For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemns us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence."

    Again, the emphasis in this verse seems to be on us judging ourselves. If it is true that from an eternal perspective what we become is more important than what we have done (as Elder Oaks and Elder Bednar have said), what is the need for an external judge figure in the final analysis? I don't have a good answer, but maybe you do.

    Another thing that I find somewhat confusing about the whole Jesus-as-judge teaching: There are times where we speak of Jesus as being our judge, but there are other times that we speak of Jesus as being our advocate, pleading our case. So what's going on here? To compare this situation to a real-life courtroom, it would be like the defending lawyer doubling as the judge in the same case. What's the point?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  5. Sam, I just saw your comments this morning. My response got really wordy, and so much so that I made it a new blog post rather than a comment...