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John Brown’s Shadow

John Mason Brown was a drama critic and speaker well known for his witty and informative lectures on theatrical topics. One of his first important appearances as a lecturer was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Brown was pleased, but also rather nervous, and his nerves were not helped when he noticed by the light of the slide projector that someone was copying his every gesture. After a time he broke off his lecture and announced with great dignity that if anyone was not enjoying the talk, he was free to leave. Nobody did, and the mimicking continued. It was another 10 minutes before Brown realized that the mimic was his own shadow!

Was Brown’s shadow real? Of course. Does a shadow have the power to control a person’s actions? Of course not. It can only mimic us. But in Brown’s case, his shadow did take control momentarily. Why? Because he allowed himself to be so distracted—“addicted,” if you will - by it that he completely forgot what he was supposed to be about.

That’s a pretty good description of the sin nature we carry within us as redeemed people. It can cause havoc, even though it has been made powerless by our identification with Christ.

Today in the Word, May 17, 1992