My friend Andre started reading this book after she had gotten a few chapters in, she wondered if I'd be willing to read it with her. The book takes a simple approach to some pretty hefty issues and I was thankful to have her to talk it through with. We savored every page, wrestling through issues of vulnerability, identity, trust, forgiveness, and taking a good hard look at how God honestly views us. We agreed this will be a book to read again and again.
Sometimes in our faith we take the approach that if we work hard enough, if our intentions are good enough, if we just do a little more, we'll find God's pleasure. But the book was about allowing the Spirit to guide our hearts and transform our behavior. It's about giving God credit for the good in us and allowing Him to do the work. It's about forgiving ourselves and others for the wrongs done against us and the wrongs we've done ourselves. It's about being honest before others without masks to cover the parts of us we hate the most. It's about looking at our sin WITH God, instead of consistently believing He's standing on the other side of it waiting for us to tackle the mess by ourselves.
I haven't begun to scratch the surface of all the complex yet simple lessons in the book, but I wanted to take a second to hit on the one that I can't stop thinking about. Here's the quote,
"What if it was less important that anything ever gets fixed than that nothing has to be hidden?"
We are taught to hide from a very early age. We hear and believe statements such as: "People will love us more if we follow the rules, if we overcome our flaws, if our good outweighs our bad, if we treat our inadequacies as strengths." But what if part of the grace offered to us through Jesus, is that He can look on our sin with us and still stand in our presence. And right along side this, if Jesus can sit with us in our failures, what if we sat with each other in ours and believed God big enough to transform us all instead of taking it on ourselves to fix them?
This lesson alone is one I am working to get my hands around. How many times have I tried to fix the sin of others instead of trusting God to work in them? How many times have I spoken when I should have sat in silence praying and listening to the aches of others? How many times have I told myself, "Just do better. Memorize more Scripture. Pray harder. Sin less," instead of in humility and honesty, coming to my Savior and begging for His presence, mercy and transformation? He sees it all anyway. Why would I try to hide from the only one who has made a way for my sin to be taken care of? Why would I think it's up to me?
We have long since finished the book, but my heart keeps coming back to the truth, that God doesn't ask me to hide. It's something I'm going to have to work on learning my whole life, as I move into unknown territories, fall into new sins, and practice forgiveness. I don't want to hide and I don't want to ask you to either.