This morning this klutso inadvertently bumped into a painted bracket fungus with a pastoral scene hanging on the wall. It fell to the floor, breaking into three pieces . . . Arrrrrgh!
Bought four decades ago, the painting of an actual Central Square, NY barn built in 1830 evokes fond memories of an earlier era in my life . . . Gorilla Glue to the rescue . . . bracket fungus patched 😊. Unfortunately, there’s no Gorilla Glue to patch life’s brokenness.
Pouring a fresh cup of streaming java to help sooth my fungus frustration, I settled into the Lazy Boy. Evidently, Abba wanted me to continue focusing on brokenness this morning.
Reading Fil Anderson’s book Breaking the Rules, a passage nostalgically reminded me how few struggles are more defeating than the brokenness of pretending to hide an isolating, guilty ‘secret’.
Fil shares about a talented artist friend’s discouraging rejection by a pastor of his unashamedly honest self-portrait A Broken Mask. The artist’s portrait revealed his conviction that there’s no room for pretending in a Christian’s life in an effort to change their appearance among other Christians to fit in and appear ‘holy’. Disheartened, the artist emailed Fil these poignant words:
“We are told that Jesus loves us as we are, sin and all, ugly bits and worthless bits. We are quoted cliches like “Come as you are.” We are offered relief from the burden of hiding in our guilt and shame. We are offered ultimate acceptance.”
The problem begins when we step through the doors of many churches. Suddenly we’re confronted with an endless stream of things that are wrong in our lives, things to repent of, things that need changing. Meanwhile, the Bible instructs us,
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you can live together whole and healed.” – James 5:16
Yet nobody does it, because that would mean taking off our mask of holiness. Therefore, we live our lives jumping through imaginary hoops in order to be accepted by the very people who invited us to “Come as you are.”
Fil’s artist friend concluded his email with this bold pledge:
“I refuse to wear a mask any longer! I will not pretend, not even for Christians. Wearing a mask will destroy you, even if it’s a socially acceptable Christian mask.”
Many years ago, broken and mired in the midst of yet another self-imposed failure, I repentantly cried out to God to forgive and rescue me. Ever faithful to His, “I will never leave you or forsake you” promise (Hebrews 13:5), His Spirit embraced me, giving me these words of assurance to write in the leaf of my Bible:
“Well may the devil roar of sins that I have done. I know them all and thousands more. Jehovah knoweth none.”
Truth be known, we’re all broken with failures. My comfort rests in the assurance that the One who knows my every ‘secret’ failure . . . past, present and future . . . unwavering still chooses to love me “Just As I Am”. I continue to pray for His strength and courage to ‘unmask’ before others and heal together, sharing ‘secret’ struggles our enemy so delights in discouraging us with.
Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!