We are a culture obsessed with maintaining a perfect image. We’ll go through great lengths to hide our wrinkles, tuck our tummies, build our bodies, and cover our baldness. We kill the weeds in our yards, wax our cars, and make sure to have our house put together before we invite people over. However, it doesn’t stop there. We also make sure to portray that our lives are free of problems: We are good parents with wonderful kids. Our faith is thriving and we don’t secretly wrestle with sin. Our marriages aren’t going through real struggles and our finances are all in order.
Yet, the truth is exactly the opposite. We are all steeped in sin, broken in our hopelessness, and in desperate need for the constant grace and forgiveness of our loving Savior. We can portray perfection all we want, but God’s Word reveals the truth of our ugliness.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. – Psalm 53:3
Yes, we are all people who like to hide the real us, doing all we can to make sure what others see is the cleaned up version of ourselves.
But, let's look at Paul, one of the greatest evangelists ever. If anyone wouldn't want others to think badly of himself, it would be Paul, right? Yet, how does he live? He is all too eager to admit his sin and shame, even calling himself the “worst of sinners.” Why did he do this? In order to bring glory to Jesus who had completely turned his life around.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:15-16
Concealing our brokenness is often rooted in a deep-set pride that doesn’t want others to see the mess we truly are. Pride is a dangerous thing. Pride hides our sin and puffs up our image.
Humility admits our brokenness and acknowledges our need for God to be the source of any good in our lives.
Are we willing to humble ourselves before God and before others and admit the truth: that we are all broken? Can we confess that we’ve struggled with porn, had abortions, dealt with addiction, made selfish choices that hurt others, lost hope, stumbled, and have fallen short of perfection?
Maintaining a facade is a lonely place to be. In our striving to keep our perfect exterior, we are left only with isolation, shame and guilt. These are all tools of Satan, not God.
While everything in us wants to hide, lie and cover up, God calls us to do the exact opposite: confess our sins and admit our weakness and need for him. We in the church have the same struggles as those outside of it, but the difference is we know what Jesus has done for us and it changes how we handle our imperfections.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
The reason we don't have to hide in our sins is because in Jesus they are washed clean. Our past doesn't determine who we are any longer, Jesus does. Now we can boast in our weaknesses, not because we celebrate sin, but because we have an opportunity to give God glory in declaring the amazing things he has done in our lives. What hope for the world! Yes, we are broken too, but in Jesus we are made new.
So many teens are struggling. Like many in the church, they are trapped in the ever-growing sin (epidemic) of pornography; they are struggling with body image; they are already dealing with guilt over mistakes they’ve made. When they look at us do they see a bunch of perfect Christians who don’t understand the things they are struggling with? Or, do they see a group of Christians who have gone through similar struggles and aren’t afraid to share how God has worked in their brokenness and brought them forgiveness and freedom from the chains of those sins?
You see, we are all on the same team. We as believers desire to honor God with our lives and spur one another on in our faith. Our honesty allows us to find support and encouragement from the body of Christ. Let’s stop living alone in Satan’s trap that we have to look like we have our lives all put together. Let's give God the glory and proclaim his power over sin, even if that means letting people know that we are broken too. Let’s join together in honesty and humility, admitting we all need Jesus. Then, let’s continue encouraging each other to keep pressing on in this race of faith that we are all running together.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16