“Hi, my name’s Mary and I’m an alcoholic and pathological liar.”
“Hi, my name’s Frieda and I’m a thief and a manipulator.”
“Hi, my name’s Bob and I’m two-faced and addicted to porn.”
We laugh when we hear such raw honesty. We laugh because we don’t know what else do when someone bears themselves so completely, or opens themselves up so thoroughly to judgment and possible ridicule.
We’ve seen it in the movies. Maybe we’ve experienced it in real life and it makes us squirm in our seats because that kind of gut-level realness is compelling. I’ve always admired it. From afar. I’ve never wanted to be that real. I’ve never wanted to be that open. What would people think about me?
I’ve heard people say they wish they had lived during the time that the Bible was written. Not me. Besides the fact that daily bathing was as popular as the plague, and dental hygiene was as common as a cellphone, how would you like it if your sins had been indelibly stamped into the most published book of all time? Everybody knows that King David was an adulterer, a thief, and a murderer. Everybody knows that Jacob was a manipulator and a liar. Everybody knows that Moses, Abraham, and Peter were all cowards. I have a hard enough time confessing my sins to my sister and she knows me. I’m not sure I could bear it if everyone knew the real me, the me only I know. The me that God sees.
The me that has mold growing in my shower grout, the me that stuck chewing gum under my desk in 10th grade science class, the me that never paid sales tax on six years of selling chewing gum for my business. (They may not seem bad to you but I’ve languished in guilt over these things.) To say nothing of losing my virginity at 16, leading a younger boy with a crush on me into immorality at 17, and waking up beside someone I didn’t know at 18 after a party at a friend’s house. How’s that for raw honesty? Are you squirming yet, because I sure am.
But then, look what happened to David. The murderer became “a man after God’s own heart”. God changed Jacob the Deceiver’s name to Israel and he became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel and was the seed God used to establish the Jewish nation. Moses, who begged God to send someone else to save his own people, parted the Red Sea and then led a million people through it. Abraham, who gave his wife away to save his own hide, is known as the Father of Faith. And Peter, who denied Jesus to his Savior’s face, preached a sermon after which over 3,000 people came forward at church to be baptized.
Kinda makes you wonder. What if I was that radically open? What if I admitted to anyone and everyone my sins and struggles? What if I was truly honest with myself and others about the real me?
“Hi, my name’s Kim and I’m an anal people-pleasing perfectionist and a raging co-dependent.”
Who wants to go next?