16 August 2013

Honesty

"The way we are with each other is the truest test of our faith."

"Honesty simply asks if we are open, willing, and able to acknowledge this truth [that we are all rescued like Matthew the tax collector].  Honesty brings an end to pretense through a candid acknowledgement of our fragile humanity.  It is always unpleasant, and usually painful, and that is why I am not very good at it.  But to stand in the truth before God and one another has a unique reward.  It is the reward which a sense of reality always brings.  I know something extremely precious.  I am in touch with myself as I am."

                                                             --Brennan Manning

The first quote really seems to resonate with me but I can see it combined with the second one.  Honesty is essential to community and to an accurate perception of who I am in Christ - saved through grace and given everything by Christ Jesus - even my ability to write these words and know they are true.

Being honest means I cannot hide even though I want to.  Brennan is right in that I suck at it.  I would - and I think others would too - rather hide the unpleasant bits and assure each other falsely that everything is fine.  What does that do?  Allow me to wallow in my own misery and deny myself the support of my community.

We don't want people knowing our "stuff" and sometimes with good cause.   We've cautiously shared  something and been met with a Pharisaical blast in return.  Bonhoeffer wrote, "Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So we remain alone in our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.  The fact is that we are sinners."

All of us.  Not a one of us would have escaped judgment on our own.  And that is where the first quote comes back in.  Do I treat the Spousal Unit, my co-workers, my friends, et cetera as an outpouring of my faith?  Sad to say, no always.  Why not?  Because I don't want to.  Not liking someone or gossiping about someone's troubles is a way for me to feel better about mine - especially if I haven't shared them.  In that moment, as Manning says, there is a choice between being Jesus and being Caiaphas and I have chosen the latter.  I have chosen religion versus remembering that I am just as broken and live under the gospel of grace by grace.  "Authentic faith leads us to treat others with unconditional seriousness and to a loving reverence for the mystery of the human personality."

"Honesty before God requires the most fundamental risk of faith we can take: the risk that God is good, that God does love us unconditionally.  It is in taking this risk that we rediscover our dignity.  To bring that truth to ourselves, just as we are, to God, just as God is, is the most dignified thing we can do in this life." - Gerald May

God already knows what I try to hide from him or from others.  To be unflinchingly honest before God is to rediscover not just my dignity but who I am in him - someone who, through nothing she did, has been given an incredible gift: someone who understands my brokenness, my problems, my fears down to the molecular level and says, "My child, I love you.  Period.  I have given you a gospel of hurting people, of ones trapped in sin, of people disillusioned and depressed, all of whom had their lives changed when they were honest with Me."

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