Sometimes I’m less than honest. With others. With God. Even with myself. No, I’m not a compulsive liar, but I may need therapy. And you may, too.
Have you ever noticed how often we can get caught up in should? How should I think? How should I feel? How should I respond? What should I say? Not all bad, especially when we’re dealing with God. Our gut reaction, our flesh, is usually not the best way to think, act, or talk. God has standards for our lives, right? And if some of you are like me, anytime you have a natural reaction that goes against what you know (or believe you know) about God, you stuff it. You pretend you never thought it, never said it, never felt it. That’s not how I should be feeling. Get back in line.
And that check up isn’t all bad. We want to be sensitive to the unfolding of God’s character inside of our lives. We want to feel that prick when we step over the line or when our thoughts or responses aren’t pleasing to Him. We want to submit our natural desires to God’s ultimate design for our lives. But when we fail to disclose, or worse yet even acknowledge, what really exists inside of us, we really have no hope of ever becoming all God created us to be. We’re less than honest. We’re liars.
That veneer makes us fake. Churches are full of people who are talking and acting like they think they should, and not necessarily as they really are. At times our desire to conform to church cultural expectations can override what God really desires from us: total and complete honesty and vulnerability before Him and with one another.
We’re all broken and damaged. We all fall far short of God’s intent for our lives. When we’re hurt, or fearful, or angry, or (insert your visceral emotional response of choice here), the best response is to be honest with ourselves, with each other, and most of all with God. But most of us either hide or wallow in it. We pretend we’re holy, or we swim freely in the bitterness. Neither option works.
God wants to move beyond the veneer. He doesn’t want us to falsely act as we we think we should, but to be as we really are. And then, in the midst of that transparent honesty, to allow Him to mold and shape and transform us into what He desires. But most of us won’t admit where we really are, or we’re just content to stay there.
King David was called “a man after God’s own heart,” not because He did everything as he should (check out 2 Samuel for yourself), but because he was completely open and honest before God (check out the book of Psalms for some amazingly transparent rantings). He allowed God to transform who he really was. God was able to do great things through David, not because he was perfect, but because he honestly allowed God to invade his imperfection.
God wants to violently collide with our reality. Not with what we think we should be, but with who we really are. Under the veneer.