This post is one in a series of reflections for Lent. I invite you to go back and read the previous reflections.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my trangressions to the Lord - and you forgave the guilt of my sin." Psalm 32:5 (NIV)
It is one thing to believe in God. It is another thing entirely to completely understand the truth of what God has to say about our character. I spent a large part of my life measuring myself against other people, or finding myself in the approval of others. I found myself wearing masks of falseness. I tried to say the right things, and do the right things, but my heart was still a mess. When you live in this type of falseness, the fear of exposure is terrifying. Constantly, you are thinking of the rejection you would face if those around you knew what was truly in your heart. If the people around me were to know all the darkness that I hid in my heart, then how could they look at me the same. When it comes to people, we avoid being fully known. One of the horrifying things about God is that he knows us completely. He knows all of our dirty little secrets. He knows of all the skeletons we keep buried in our closets of life. There is no where that we can hide from him. There is nothing we can hide from him. He knows us in an intimate way that we will never experience with another person, this side of glory. There is a bright side to that story. God knows all of the things we are hiding from others, but he delights in us. He desperately seeks to have an intimate relationship with him. When I was able to be honest with myself, and acknowledge the depth of my own wickedness, then I no longer had anything to hide. I could put away the masks that I had been using to conceal the real men. I acknowledged that God already knows me completely. Not only that, but he is delighted in me. He has accepted me in that wicked state. He certainly doesn't want me to stay where I am, but he loves me in my fallenness. He receives an amazing amount of glory from our recognition of our own fallenness. When we realize how desperately fallen we are, and how little we can do to improve our standing with him, then we become completely dependent on him. He glories in our dependence on him. When I throw all of my sin before his throne, and plead for his mercy, then I am bringing him so of the glory that he deserves. As I move forward in humility, I depend on him daily for a greater and greater share of his loving mercy. All of this brings more glory to him. His mercy breaks the chains of the shame that has swallowed us up. We are able to step out into a new life. A new existence where we no longer have to fear the exposure of your true self. We can surround ourselves we people who know how very bad we truly are, because they are every bit as wicked as us. They spend the same time and effort into putting to death their own wickedness, that we do. I have said it before, that I have spent a large part of my life trying to convince people who I was not as bad as they thought I was. When I got real with God, I realized that I was every bit as bad as they thought, and perhaps even worse. This new freedom allows me to live completely out loud. No need for secrets. I can place all my cards on the table. I am a wicked man, but God in his unfailing love has cover each and every one of my sins. He has free me from the penalty of my own shortcomings. Now he calls me to lean harder and harder into him for the grace to step out into this new life that he has called me to.