“If they only knew…”
How many times have those words trickled down into your gut?
The above thought usually comes to us after some compliment, or award or accolade, or testimony of character.
We grin and are thankful but often find our insides turning a bit colder.
“If they only knew…”
The sexual history.
The greed that I can’t kill.
The love of praise.
The bad parenting.
The need for control.
That thing. You know it. And sometimes it comes in pairs and brings friends too.
Here’s the thing, friend, like most emotions it’s a cocktail of sorts.
There’s guilt and desire for good and hope to be better.
There’s shame mixed with a desire to be honest. (more on this to come)
I think our culture’s approach to the mixed drink is an overenthusiastic, “But you’re a good person! Don’t dwell on mistakes. You’re good. Really good.”
It’s simplistic and it’s shallow.
It bags all the emotions in one bag and simply writes “Trash”.
Throw it out.
But how often has that worked?
I think we want to be honest with others.
And I think the mixed cocktail I describe above can be toxic but can also tells us of a deeper need.
A need that is met, but not in our fleshly neighbors.
A need for someone to say, “I know you fully and I won’t lie about your mistakes and sins. You’ve hurt people and you’ve hurt yourself. I know this. I know all of it. And I love you more than a new mother loves the new flesh in her arms.”
That’s our need.
That’s the relief our gut seeks: forgiveness not forgetting.
The cultural prescription of weighing the good vs the bad just doesn’t cut it.
It’s not going to soothe the deep (and good!) desire to be honest with ourselves and with others.
So where does that leave us? When thrown a compliment or a note of praise, where do we go with our gut of “if they knew…”?
We go to the One that does know.
We go to Him that always sees.
And we go to Him who paid for our name.
Beyond and further up in our souls is a desire for our name to be honest and clear and good.
And it’s a good desire.
And the honest people know it won’t come by trying harder.
And it’s there for a reason.
Our Father wants us to have a good name too.
So He purchased it. It was costly. And that should be enough to wipe away our heart’s feelings of “If they only knew…”.
He does know.
And it’s why He came.