Always Seeing The Bad Side of Things

by Hans Christian Andersen

One day the devil felt particularly gratified, for he had just come up with a real winner. He had made a mirror that had the unusual quality of badly distorting anything seen in it. The nicest face became unbelievably ugly; the nicest landscape became like cooked green leaf. When someone with a good thought smiled and looked into the mirror, the devil saw in it a grin or grimace.

The devil's understudies delighted in their master's success. He turned the whole world upside down with it. So then he got the idea of flying up to heaven to make fun of the angels and even God himself with that mirror. In his excitement, the nearer the devil got to heaven, the more he grinned. But his grin reflected so horribly in the mirror that it slipped out of his hands and fell back to earth and broke into a thousand pieces.

So this caused even more trouble than before. For the mirror's broken pieces are as fine as the grain of sand, and blown about all over the earth. Whenever a grain got into a person's eye, it could not be removed; and that person thereafter always saw only the bad side, the evil in things and persons around.

As the story implies, this habit of always seeing bad and evil and wrong is not natural; it comes from the devil.

The eyes that look but miss to see will be filled with uncertainties. But destructive negativism is the vice of the eyes that refuse to see; for unless it is the Lord who opens the eyes, things are not seen clearly and hope is obscure.

In the book of Genesis, consider the story of the maidservant Hagar's predicament when Abraham's wife banished her from the household because of the child she had with Abraham. Take notice of her hopelessness and how God gave her hope by opening her eyes. That biblical account is found in Genesis 21:14-19, and it goes this way:

Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and gave her the child, and sent her away. She departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. The water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. She went and sat down opposite him, a good way off, about a bow shot away. For she said, "Don't let me see the death of the child." She sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept. God heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar out of the sky, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Don't be afraid. For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him in your hand. For I will make him a great nation." God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the bottle with water, and gave the boy drink. (Genesis 21:14-19)

God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. So simple a statement but so full of power and meaning. Hagar was of course awake, but what eyes of her did God opened? At first, she didn't knew that there was a well just within the vicinity. Is it surprising that she is unaware of the well nearby? Maybe not, because she may not be familiar with the place. But what is striking is her total hopelessness.

Her hopelessness stemmed from her fear at the very start when she realized she is in big trouble for having a child with Abraham who is her mistress' husband (eventhough it was her mistress who forced her to have a child with Abraham). So when the time eventually comes for her to be exiled from the household, she was already resigned to a self-imposed fate of her child dying in the wilderness. That is why she didn't even bothered or tried to survey the place for anything that may sustain the child's life for even just a few hours. She focused on the bad side of her predicament and let herself get preoccupied and blinded with hopelessness.

What does the well of water symbolize? Water is a symbol of life. Well is a symbol of hope. Therefore the well of water symbolizes Hope of Life. It was not Hagar's physical eyes that God opened but her spiritual eyes which were blinded by her hopelessness. But did God told her that there was a well in the vicinity and where it was located? God did not! It was only when her spiritual eyes were opened and cleared of the blindness of hopelessness that she saw a hope of life.

Are we not sometimes like Hagar? Do we focus so much on the bad side of things around us that we become blind to a hope of a better life? If life is what we make it, then how we see things determines our attitude of our future.

Click on the picture above to see a larger size of it and then examine it closely paying attention to the details put in place. You will observe that it is a picture of a beautiful lady in front of a circular mirror with some beauty accessories placed on the desk at the base of the mirror and with the reflections of all the objects. But you will notice that when you slowly close your eyes while remaining focused on the picture, there is a point where you see most of the picture's details get obscured and all the image that is produced is a dry skull. It is only when your eyes are wide open and properly focused that you see the whole beauty of the picture with its details.

Are your spiritual eyes wide open? What do you see?

Look ahead, what are you hoping for, beauty or ugliness? If so, then what are you doing about it?