Christians are all a bunch of liars.
Pastors lie, Sunday school teachers lie, Seminary professors lie, I lie, and you lie. Yes. You, out there. You lie too.
Perhaps you think I am full of it. You don’t think I know what I am talking about. Beth, the new blogger for “That Reformed Blog”, is off her rocker and super, super judgmental. You think I am lying about telling you that you are lying. OK, so maybe I owe you a bit of an explanation.
What does lying even mean? See, I am not just talking about your run of the mill “hey, that sweater I bought cost way too much, so I will tell my husband it was $30, when it was actually $100” kind of lying, which is still a bad idea, don’t get me wrong. But there is another kind of dishonesty that is marrow deep.
We lie about our entire lives. We seem to have this drive to make the Kingdom of God look good. We so badly want to make ourselves look like fine Christian ladies and gents, so we smile, when we’re dying. We preach, when we’re questioning. We say “I’m fine”, when all we want to do is connect the business end of a sledge hammer to the windshield of our boss’ Porsche.
I have a particular Bible verse that has been my go to verse for a number of years, 1 Peter 3:15. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” This is a verse about lying. Want to know why? Because in order for me to live up to the integrity of this verse, I have to be willing to live honestly and vulnerably. It is universally impossible to offer hope, if there is no darkness to which it conquers. Hope is only needed when the physical world appears irreparably bleak. If I want to be the one to offer hope to a broken, hurting world, I need to show others a few before and after pictures. And even better, a few photos of my work in progress too. If I want to testify to a God who heals, I will need to reveal a life that is sick.
This doesn’t mean we have to clothes pin every single piece of dirty laundry out in the open for all to see. We all have a few sacred stories that should only be entrusted to those who are closest to us. One of the greatest fears of living vulnerably is that we are leaving ourselves wide open to being attacked or misunderstood. And let’s face it, sometimes our fellow Christians can be cruel in telling us how we should act, think, and talk. It’s sometimes tempting to focus on the perceived failings of others, because our vision is so restricted by that log in our cornea.
But we shouldn’t pretend our life is a Broadway musical, when it feels like a Shakespearean tragedy. Taking a step towards honesty is what gives others the opportunity to love us toward our healing. Taking a step towards honesty is what allows God to be glorified, as we become a fleshly example of what God’s strength does in our weakness. Taking a step towards honesty is what can drastically reduce our anxiety as we die to caring about the opinions of others. Taking a step towards honesty is to also take a step into hope. And hope, my friends, does not disappoint. “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”