If there is one thing every person is scared of, it’s the truth.
We are scared of the truth about ourselves. We are scared of our flaws, our mistakes, our weaknesses, because the thought of others seeing those faults is unbearable. So we do our utmost to cover them, and we’ll even do it for our friends. We coddle and flatter and tell our friends what they want to hear. We smile and simper and say whatever will make us look or feel good. Our mouths drip with honeyed compliments. We brush over mistakes and pretend nothing happened. Really, we’ll say just about anything, as long as everyone else thinks we’re perfect.
Why are we so determined to hide our flaws? We’re afraid of the truth because we fear what it might cost us, what we’ll have to sacrifice along the way. If others caught a glimpse of our ugly side, our good name would surely be tarnished. We wouldn’t look as flawless. People would no longer think we’re perfect.
Being perfect is comfortable. Admitting when we’re wrong and we’ve messed up is probably one of the hardest things we can ever do.
Recently a friend looked me straight in the eye and said, “You have a hard time being vulnerable. You need to let people see the real you.” No one had ever said that to me, and I realized how true it was. I don’t like people seeing my ugliness, the parts of me that snap and taunt and degrade and act selfishly. And I hate admitting when I’m wrong. I’m comfortable with the appearance of perfection. Fake it until you make it, right? That’s the problem. I’ll never be perfect, not even close.
Honesty is a form of sacrifice. Whenever we reveal our imperfections, we are sacrificing our pride. And in truth, if sacrifice was easy it would have a different name. Sacrifice is painful. Every time we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, it hurts because we are losing our pride. But pride needs to be lost. It must be tossed aside, no matter the cost.
Pride grabs a hold of us and drags us farther and farther away from Jesus. Pride tells us we don’t need our Savior, that we’re just fine on our own. Pride says we’re not so bad (or at least we’re not as bad as that one guy, right?). Pride tries to convince us we can fix ourselves.
That’s why we need honesty. We are sinners. We are broken. And we desperately need grace. It’s time to truly believe that and stop trying to cover up all our mistakes, our personal struggles, the temptations we often succumb to. Whenever we open up and admit our wrongs, we are admitting to one another that no, we’re not perfect, but we serve a God who is. And He is the only One who can take all our weaknesses and failures, and use them for His glory and our good. By being vulnerable with each other and humble before the Lord, we grow closer together as people – into the oneness and unity the Lord desires for His children – and then even closer to our God.
Honesty is sacrifice. Openness is humility. Vulnerability is surrender. It’s admitting to the world that yes, we are flawed and the only good thing in us is Jesus. It’s putting our brokenness before the Lord and saying, “I can’t, but You can.”
“The only basis for real fellowship with God and man is to live out in the open with both… We must be willing not only to know, but also to be known by [our brother] for what we really are. That means we are not going to hide our inner selves from those with whom we ought to be in fellowship; we are not going to window dress and put on appearances; nor are we going to white-wash and excuse ourselves. We are going to be honest about ourselves with them. We are willing to give up our spiritual privacy, pocket our pride, and risk our reputations for the sake of being open and transparent with our brethren in Christ… As we walk this way, we shall find that we shall have fellowship with one another at an altogether new level, and we shall not love one another less, but infinitely more.”
(Roy Hession, The Calvary Road)