by Andrew Stevens
It started with an experiment using two monkeys.
Scientists took one monkey, wired him up and had him perform certain actions. During that time, the scientists observed what was going on in his brain. Then they brought in a second monkey, had that monkey perform the same actions in front of the first monkey and again, watched what happened in the first monkey’s brain. The scientists found that the same area of the brain “lit up” for both events. The monkey’s brain was doing the same thing whether the monkey was performing an action or watching another monkey perform the same action.
This was the beginning of the Theory of the Mirror Neuron system.
Have you ever yawned after watching someone else yawn? How often do you notice Laughter being “contagious”? Scientists suggest that this is because of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons help us to understand and even mimic actions. They work the same with emotions. This theory indicates that empathy is a result of mirror neurons. We feel sadness when we see someone sad. We are happy when we are with someone happy. If one person in the office has a bad attitude, that attitude can spread due to mirror neurons.
So what are you choosing to mirror? We reflect the environment and people around us and we have a choice each day to decide who or what we will reflect. This is why God calls us into relationship with him. Through daily bible study and prayer, we will mirror his glory and carry his hope throughout the day.
As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” Without that contact with our Lord, all we have left is to mirror the imperfect world around us. A world without joy or hope.
But that’s only the beginning. Whatever we are mirroring will be reflected to those around us. If we are connected with God, then we will reflect his glory to others. And those who interact with us will begin seeing that in us and hopefully begin reflecting God as well.
This is especially important for us as worship leaders. Every Sunday that we lead worship, we will be reflecting something to those who come to church. When we step out front, they see us and their mirror neurons start working. If we are fully prepared and fully engaged in worship, then people can see that in us. Their mirror neurons will perceive that joy and the Holy Spirit will begin to open their hearts no matter what baggage they came in with. Our worship will spread throughout the congregation.
So how are your mirror neurons? Jesus preached, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) Each day we can choose to mirror him and reflect his glory, and “let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)