Last week at young adults Bible study, we dove into a discussion on being genuine and open with people. Basically, we were tackling the “mask trend”. Especially in regards to the church.
It’s easy to do. Sometimes we don’t bite our tongues when we should. But many times we do just as much damage by our silence. And sometimes we outright lie. Perhaps it is our pride. It probably is, actually! And maybe it is something much more…maybe the pain of sharing it and expressing the truth is too scary.
I think our culture feeds it. “Image” is everything. And along with that, there is such a lack of grace extended from the masses…in the media and even in the church. Kind of ridiculous, isn’t it? It is by GRACE we are saved, yet we sometimes live like we deserved it. And then we don’t even bother to share it. Shame on us.
Shame on me.
When you are in a position of leadership, that mask is harder to take off. We creatures have this instinct to discount everything from people if they fall from the pedestal we have them on. I suppose the bigger problem is that we place people on the pedestals in the first place. It certainly makes genuine leadership a challenge. Maybe it’s b/c so many in leadership throughout history have set the trend of wearing that ” image.” Whatever it is, it is destructive.
I have not always guarded my tongue when I should have. Sometimes carrying something so long causes explosions along the way. I am a protector…and I have taken the road of silence more often than not, thinking “no one could understand.”
I was wrong. I have never met someone who has ever traveled the same road as myself, but I have recently met people who understood the roads, nonetheless. They offer me great compassion and encouragement. And they don’t look at me any differently. Oh, how the love of Jesus shines through them!
I don’t share my complete testimony with many people. I wish I could share it more. For some reason I think people would understand God’s grace and provision more if I could. But how do I share it without hurting the other people that were involved in those pivotal moments of God’s restoration of myself? How do I tell my story and leave the other people out? It’s almost impossible. But I don’t want to cause more damage.
That has been the debate within myself for years.
Last night I had a dream. I was standing in front of one of the people that had such an impact on my journey, and he didn’t believe that I had forgiven him. He hadn’t even forgiven himself. Over and over again in the dream and said to him, “I forgive you! I do!” And it wasn’t as though I was convincing myself. I knew I already had forgiven him. It was like he just couldn’t believe it. And he never really heard me say it before. And then he did believe it. Right before I woke up. I saw it in his face. And I had peace. Complete peace.
I woke up more at peace than I had in a long time, too. And now I wonder…have I withheld grace from the people in my life that need it the most?