Why do we spend so much effort trying to convince those around us we don’t have any flaws?
In 2002, after I came clean with Jenny it began to dawn on me that I had spent 39 years of my life pretending to be someone I was not. Was it fear of rejection or not being accepted? Was it fear of being looked down on? I think for me it was a deep-seated fear of appearing “defective”.
We know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that only God is perfect. Yet for some reason, most people don’t want to acknowledge their failures or sins. I admit I am one of them. I like for people to think that I have it all together, even though that is far from the truth.
When we pretend to be something or someone, its called hypocrisy. It comes so naturally so how can we keep from pretending?
Two things come to mind…first we need to walk in humility. When we think of the verse “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord” that seems easier than “humbling yourself in the sight of the man”. Ultimately, perhaps we do care more about what man thinks about us than God does.
Recently a father questioned me whether he should be open and honest with his kids. I encouraged him to do so and gave counsel on how to do it wisely. After he spoke with his kids, he sent me the most amazing e-mail. As he shared his failures with his 14-year-old son, his son replied, “Dad, I used to want to be like other godly men I saw at church. Now I only want to be like you”. Wow! What father could ask for more? The dad told me later that if hearing that from his son was the only benefit to come from his honest confession, it was worth it all.
The second thing that comes to mind is that we should allow others around us to be imperfect. Often those closest to us feel pressure from us to have it all together. Maybe this is because we allow them to validate us. But if we can learn to humble ourselves, we can help those around us humble themselves.
As a parent I don’t like to think of my kids as having any problems. I feel that when they do, is a reflection of me. I know this is wrong, so I have to overcome that feeling. When we put the pressure to be perfect on our children, they grow up believing that if they’re not perfect, they won’t be loved. This makes them feel trapped and all alone.
When I came clean with Jenny I assumed she and the kids would never forgive and respect me again. That was the furthest thing from the truth. To hear my kids call me their hero makes it worth it to me.
God’s Word is true when Jesus says “He who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). Let’s believe God and choose to live a life open and honest even when we’re struggling. Let’s choose humility and encourage those around us to be humble by not expecting them to be perfect either. No more wearing mask… Let’s be real.
What do you think?