“ . . . but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence . . .” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
It was only a casual glance at the mirror as I walked passed -- a moment when my eye stole a glimpse at my reflection. But what a moment it was! The whole of nature stopped, turned in my direction and waited for my response to that . . . that little white and grey thing hanging from my left nostril.
"Yikes! Who’s seen me like this?"
I yanked a tissue from my pocket and attacked my nose. I cocked and twisted my head, making sure I removed every last trace of that horrible sight. But then the knot in my stomach tightened. How long had I walked around totally ignorant of my horrible plight? When did I last blow my nose? Just before I left the house? Three hours ago!
I tossed the tissue into a trash can and hurried off, wondering why no one had told me. Surely they’d seen it. Anyone looking in my direction from the next state could have seen it!
Yet the more I thought about it, the more I understood why they remained silent. They were almost as embarrassed to mention it as I was to discover it. They probably thought, "maybe he'll scratch his nose and discover it without my having to bring up the subject." Or, "maybe someone else will tell him."
How do I know that's what they probably thought? Because I have made those same dumb excuses when I've looked at someone's face and wondered "how do I tell him about his dirty nose?"
Well, believe it or not, there is a spiritual point in all this, because in dealing with my own embarrassment I learned two important things about dirty faces – and eternal life.
First, mirrors are very important. Had I not seen my reflection in the mirror, I might have continued through the rest of the day with that thing dangling on my nose. But that common looking glass reminds me of another mirror – the Bible. "The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).
When I read the pages of God's "mirror" much more serious blemishes catch my eye. Like the piece of mucous stuck to the end of my nose, those cursed spots (God calls them sin) sometimes cling stubbornly to my life. And although discovering those blights are not among my favorite moments, without His mirror, my spiritual "nose-slime" would remain stuck to me, unclean, unconfessed and – consequently - unforgiven. The embarrassment of discovering that thing dangling from my nose cannot compare to the shame I would eventually experience if I stood unclean before the Lord.
Which brings me to the second point: Walking around all morning with a dirty nose is not the worst thing that will ever happen to someone. But dying unclean in sin definitely is.
Yes, I wished someone had told me my nose was dirty, but I am forever thankful someone told me my life was dirty. I am forever grateful that person pointed me to God's word where I learned not only of sin's stain on my life, but also of Christ’s blood which can cleanse me.
My dirty nose reminded me again how badly people need someone willing to risk embarrassment and tell them, kindly and with humility, their lives are dirty. They need someone - like you and like me - to tell them they need a savior.
If we don't tell them about Jesus Christ, who will?