maskWhy do we hide?

I find it extremely interesting that the people that seem the most honest with themselves and with others are those who are in, or have been in a drug/recovery program. One of my favorites is author Augusten Burroughs. His story “Running With Scissors” and “Dry” along with all his other memoirs take a brutally honest look at his worst times and his best times.  But having also worked with people in recovery, I would have to say that at least a good two thirds of the individuals I have known are open and honest about themselves.

So why do we hide?

I am talking here about us, the church people.  Why do we hide?

We freely acknowledge that we were “once sinners”, and we say that Jesus died for out sins. But as soon as many of us come into the church we begin to pretend. We pretend we don’t sin that much anymore, or at least not like those in the world. We build a facade  of cheery Christian verbiage that hides the pain, and failure, and weakness, and yes, sin just behind the impenetrable wall. Fear of rejection, and being seen as carnal or a heretic hold together, like mortar, this facade.

So every day we lie to each other.  Every day we act as if we  “growing in Christ” because if not, others would look down on us. So we use churchspeak to describe our lives to others. Examples?

How about…

I am gaining victory over…
I am struggling with…
I fell into…..
I have been battling satan lately over…

Each of these phrases give the hearer the illusion that I am fighting the good fight, I was doing well but then caught off guard, or someone (satan) is trying to get me off track.

But what if we were honest. What if we admitted that we sin, sometimes very badly, most of the time? And if we could honestly say that sometimes we actually enjoy our sin? Or what if we stopped towing the party line and admitted to others that we do not believe that some things the church condemns as sin are actually sin, like drinking, smoking (even smoking marijuana), gambling, or using birth control or being gay/lesbian/transgender.

Then what if we admitted that we will never have it all together and we need the love and support of our spiritual brothers and sisters to get through life?

What if love and grace, forgiveness and mercy was offered and received over and over again.

What would happen would be a transformation  There would be no need to hide. There would be no need for fear. There would be no need for walls to hide behind. And each of us would begin to change and grow and become more of who we were created to be because we would no longer have to fear being exposed.broken-mask

And most importantly the world would see Jesus.

6 thoughts on “Hiding

  1. I think we all have hidden faces – a part of us we do not want anyone to know about- and that may be guilt, shame, saddness, pain
    I always think it is such a shame that some people are afraid to go to Church because they know it will bring the risk (in some, but thankfully, not all Churches) of being judged, made to fee bad or ignored.
    God knows us inside out, our good and bad but He loves us as we are – His child.
    I think you have it in a nutshell, Mark – Churchy folk should offer love and walk beside each person, we are not here to judge, condemn nor marginilise but to grow together in faith and God’s love
    Thanks for your latest blog and apologises for the spelling errors. Take care.

  2. That’s why so many 12-steppers I know say their church is their 12-step meetings: because they can freely admit their failings, their flaws, celebrate their miracles, rejoice in God, all in a place surrounded by people who are all in the same boat and are there to help each other.
    I think the main reason so many churches are hemorrhaging people is because what’s the point of going somewhere that all you do is act like everything’s fine, and if they find out the truth about your dark and dirty secrets – you’re out. Maybe not escorted from the building, but out of any companionship, support, care… In other words, all they want is that dressed up shiny-faced smiler. I don’t go to those churches. I don’t see the point, especially since as far as I can tell they don’t do much in the way of worshiping God, either.
    I go to a very early morning service at a very small church out in the country where we all sit around the table and read the Bible readings for the day and tell each other what life is really like, right now, for us. And we pray and talk and laugh and cry and have more coffee. (Later on, there’s a “traditional” service, but I don’t really care for that.) And when I want a full-bore worship service, I go to a High Episcopal Cathedral and let the ritual sweep me away.
    If you’re ever in South Dakota, come on by. St. Peter Lutheran, Orland, 9 AM.

    1. I know several people that have chosen the route you have as more and more reject the superficiality of some churches. Thanks for reading and commenting too.

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