I had the chance to preach at Bethany North on Sunday about Psalm 32 and the power of vulnerability. Click the link if you want a refresher on the Psalm a powerful word from David on the value of confessing our sin. David said when he didn’t confess, his sin was literally eating at his bones and causing him to waste away. But as he acknowledged his sin, and didn’t hide, and confessed his failures, he found forgiveness with God. And this forgiveness lead to great joy. Read it – it’s all there in the Psalm.
God’s desire is for us to be real and authentic, and not hide our pains and failures from one another and form him. When Jesus when He was on earth, He was always empathetic to people who realized their failings and their humanity (woman at the well, thief on the cross, woman caught in adultery, etc). Jesus had no patience for people who wore masks, especially those who wore religious masks hiding the real them behind the religious veneer of pretending everything was fine.
If you want to be known by God, you have to allow Him to see you as you really are. You need to confess. And if you want to be known by others- same rules apply. You must be real and let others in. Being a mask wearing culture, and a mask wearing church, isn’t getting us anywhere.
Brene Brown (in her Ted talk on vulnerability below) said that shame is the fear of disconnection and that the people who learn to be vulnerable and ask forgiveness become “wholehearted people” who have authentic relationships. If we’re not careful, we become mask wearers to our friends, and our family, to our God, and eventually to ourselves. And as a church, we must learn from the mistake we’ve made that allows this “mask wearing” for too long. The danger is that if a church is made up of people who are always just “fine” and never vulnerable with one another (a.k.a. mask wearers), then when someone struggles or messes up or has a problem, they will never come back to church. They can’t- because the church is full of people (so they think) that have no problems! This is a real problem.
The hope as children of God and as God’s church is that we can move into God’s fullness when we aren’t enslaved by our past mistakes. Our call is to be real, and be vulnerable, and drop the masks we wear the the world and wear to God, hiding ourself behind the facade. God wants us to be real…so that he can renew and regenerate us through the fullness of His good news. If you have time- watch this TED talk on vulnerability.
Powerful stuff. Be real. Be vulnerable. The fruit of this labor is joy and a clean heart and lightened load. It’s a joy I wish you all to share. God uses humans not when they are perfect or sin free- but God uses humans when they have come clean and dropped the mask and they step fully into God’s big picture.