It’s instinct. Hide your flaws. Cover up your sins. Protect your pride. There is something inside all of us that pushes blame away from ourselves. We see it in kids, who immediately deny doing something, they may not even understand why it was wrong, but something within them says, DENY IT.
Where does this come from?
We don’t want to get in trouble. We want people to look up to us and we are afraid if they see the real us, they will abandon us. We don’t want to be that vulnerable. Perhaps we’ve been hurt before.
I recently asked our junior highers, “Is it ever a good thing to get caught?” They almost all agreed, yes! I later asked them if it is ever bad to not get caught, and they were quick to give examples of how not getting caught can lead to continuing those actions later in life, which could have far more serious consequences than it would now. I think they’re pretty smart.
What are some things we choose to hide?
We hide our sins. We Certainly don’t want anyone knowing about those.
We hide our hurts. We can’t have people seeing us as damaged goods.
We hide our fears. No one wants to be seen as anything less than courageous.
We hide our doubts. After all, what kind of Christian has these kinds of doubts?
Regardless of what it is we are hiding, the best thing we can do is get it out into the open. I don’t mean post it on social media, or start telling anyone who will listen. Find someone trustworthy, who will stand by you no matter what. If you’re not sure you have anyone like that, talk to a pastor or leader in your church. Perhaps they can even help connect you to someone who is willing to listen. Maybe even consider seeing a counselor. Get it in the open, no matter what.
When we keep things hidden in the dark, we give them the power to remain in our lives.
I don’t mind if my room is messy, as long as the lights are off I will leave all my clothes on the floor. The moment I turn on the light something changes. I can’t stand to see my room all messed up! (I know my Mom is happy reading this.) When the mess is in the dark, it doesn’t matter. It only affects me if I happen to wander around and stumble into the mess. However, once the light is on, not only are the obstacles easier to avoid, they are easier to clean up.
About ten years ago, I had just come to the place where I knew I wanted to pursue ministry. Except, there were some things in my life that I knew could destroy me if I didn’t do something to remove them. I didn’t really have anyone close to me that I felt comfortable talking to. So in a moment of absolute resolve, I sent an e-mail to my pastor. I knew I couldn’t wait to try and find the right time to talk to him or I’d never do it. I put it all out there in that e-mail.
It’s a scary thing to do, putting it all out there. We have a common fear that when it’s known we will receive judgment and ultimately rejection. Thankfully, that isn’t what happened. My pastor responded with love and understanding and began to work with me to develop an action plan to overcome.
It’s never easy to take that step into vulnerability. It’s never easy to be so fully exposed. However, we eventually have to ask this difficult question. Do I want to live with this forever? Am I ok if this thing gets worse? What kind of person am I really?
It’s time to turn on the lights.
I believe this is part of what it means to “live as people of light.” (Ephesians 5:8) Every part of our lives should be exposed, nothing hidden. Living in such a way ensures that anyone looking at your life can see the work God is doing within you. It doesn’t mean we are perfect or have no flaws, rather it allows people to see the divine in the midst of our humanity.
We are all imperfect people, chosen, accepted and loved by God. When we allow His light to permeate every part of our lives, we have nothing to fear. We can live life in peace and with confidence. I believe it is only when we fully embrace that light that we can begin to share it with others. It is only when we fully live in the light that Christ can be displayed through us.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”