Most of us work fairly hard to project an image to others that is not always consistent with everything that’s true about us. We were taught from an early age that some behaviors are not appropriate in public.
Don’t burp, and if you do, excuse yourself quickly.
Don’t pick your nose or at least use a Kleenex.
Don’t pass gas, and if you do, blame the smell on the dog or the nearest kid.
Of course, manners matter. Crude, offensive behavior is never okay. There certainly is a place for decency and etiquette. However, all of us burp, pick our nose and break wind on a fairly regular basis. All of us. So why pretend like we don’t?
What about the other things people tend to hide?
Some have emotional scars that no one sees from the abuse they’ve suffered.
Lots of us wear blue jeans that are at least one size too small.
Many have secrets they pray are never revealed.
Some women have stretch marks.
More than a few of us snore.
And all of us have a propensity to sin. It’s the human condition on this side of eternity.
What we know about others and see in their lives is rarely the full, un-edited story.
My point in this rant is simple: Isn’t the love of God amazing?
He knows everything about everything. Nothing escapes His view. He knows every thought, word, and action, including our true motivations. (Check out Hebrews 4:13.)
When we smile and say, “I’m doing great!” and we’re not, He knows.
When we tell Him we love Him above all, and yet we’ve fixed our attention on money or other material things, He knows.
When we pretend to be so perfect, yet our minds have imagined all sorts of evil, He knows.
When we do our best to look our best, yet our souls are empty and weary, He knows.
On a regular basis, I talk about the unconditional love of God. I believe in it. I depend on it. I need it. His love sustains me. It helps me sleep at night and gets me up in the morning.
But sometimes . . . sometimes when I fully realize the depth of His love for a burping, tooting, snoring, pretending, broken, and sometimes mess-of-a-man like me—it overwhelms me.
The me that God and I know may not always be the me you and others see, but I am loved, and I am His. The emotional cosmetics I use to cover my spiritual blemishes are a waste of energy because His grace covers everything. Absolutely. Every. Thing.
Perhaps we would do better to admit humbly to others and ourselves, “I’m far from perfect, but I am perfectly loved, so I will live free and without pretense. I am still in process and am growing, but throughout the journey I will live in grace and without fear.”
Make-believe might work in the kingdom of Disney, but in the Kingdom of God, it’s always better to remove the facade and it’s never necessary to hide behind a mask.
Maybe it’s time to stop blaming the dog.
And maybe it’s okay that you and I are not always okay. Even the most expensive and beautiful homes on the planet still have bugs and sewer pipes out of view.
Am I excusing sin? No.
Am I applauding spiritual laziness? Of course not.
Am I, however, encouraging you to embrace the grace that is yours and to live loved regardless of your imperfections? Without reservation. Why? Because the alternative is unthinkable for any child of God.
Dare I say it again? You are loved. Period. End of story. There is nothing you can do to make the Father love you any less or any more than He already does.
Why pretend to be more than you are when to be His child is more than enough?