The Mirror That Changed the Ugly Duckling



Remember the Hans Christian Anderson story of the Ugly Duckling? This poor little fellow was so downhearted as others teased him for being different. He felt unwanted, rejected, not loved, not accepted and not enough because he was not like the other ducklings. Then one day, he looked into the pond and saw his reflection. He had a revelation that he was not a duck at all but a beautiful swan. He embraced this revelation realizing that this was his identity all along. He completely changed his thinking since the reflection showed him his true identity.

I’ve recently received a copy of Francois du Toit’s The Mirror Bible. A friend kept posting verses from The Mirror on Facebook and I had to get it. But before I even delved into the scriptural translation, I read the author’s introduction where he shares why The Mirror Translation.

Du Toit describes his fascination with words. He is intrigued with language. Man is a communicator, an interpreter of thoughts and meaning and “in our age,” he writes, “we can question age old traditions and interpretations with deliberate scrutiny. Any word can be fascinating as individual words can greatly influence the meaning and interpretation of any conversation.” For many years errors in Bible translations were repeated which empowered religious institutions to manipulate and abuse masses of people.

Du Toit asks to consider the word metanoia. The two components of meta, meaning “together with” and nous, meaning “mind,” suggest a radical mind shift. This word has been traditionally translated as “repentance,” an old English word borrowed from the Latin which means penance. Then they added the “re” to promote a sin consciousness. Re-penance. This gross deception led to perverted doctrines of having to appease or gain favor from an angry god.

Before the year 385 and Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation, the metanoia was used. In 198 A.D. Tertullian wrote, “In Greek, metanoia is not a confession of sins but a change of mind.” But the Latin translators chose, “do penance” to follow the Roman Catholic teaching on doing penance to win God’s favor.

The Greek preposition meta, “together with” implies another influence. The incarnation of Christ reduces the distance between heaven and earth and metanoia suggests a co-knowing with God that Adam and Eve experienced before they sinned and left God’s presence. Christ was the mirror image of God, the Word incarnate who came to redeem us back to Eden’s intimacy with God our creator and restore Him as our Source, our Mirror of identity.

Mark 11:22 says “Have the faith of God.” What God believes about you is what gives substance to what you believe about yourself. Jesus is what God believes about you.

Your belief in God does not define him: his faith in what he knows to be true about you defines you.

So Ugly Duckling, metanoia, change the way you think, because there is another Kingdom.

Katie Mather
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