Sunday, February 6, 2011

Living a life of radical honesty

The people I respect and admire the most are all radically honest.

I'm not just talking about people who don't lie to me, because the truth is, you can never tell a lie in your life and still not be honest.  I'm talking about people who bear their souls, who lay it all out there on the line, ugliness, prettiness and all, and who admit to the world that they are all fouled up and nothing but the grace of God keeps them going.  They would rather others see them as God sees them than put on some sort of facade that they have it all together.  They are willing to work toward being better people, but they can take an honest look at themselves and see how terribly screwed up they really are.

One incentive for living a life of that sort of radical honesty is that those are the people that God chooses to use the most.  Someone told me once that God uses the broken vessels because when He puts His light in them, the cracks allow the Light to shine out the brightest.  How many of us, though, are indeed broken vessels but we try frenetically to cover up the very cracks that God wants to use?  God sees that we are cracked, but we think if we cover those up, no one else will see it.  It puts me in mind of Galatians 1:10,

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The other incentive is that you can't truly love or be loved without bearing yourself as you actually are.  Sometimes I wonder if God's love is perfect love because only He can know us as we actually are, even better than we can know ourselves.  As for each other, it is through our brokenness that we come together intimately; it is only through our brokenness that we are ever able to truly love one another.  Unfortunately, though, very few people are willing to risk putting their brokenness out their for the world to see. 

The truth of the matter is God seldom uses our success to allow us to reach deeply into one another.  If someone says, "I am the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and I made over $10 million dollars last year", seldom will anyone hear that and say, "Wow, that touched me in my core and changed my life."  But if someone says, "I've struggled with thoughts of suicide/porn addiction/excessive spending all my life and I'm a completely screwed up person because of it," that has the chance to reach down deep in someone and hit a nerve.  

Of all the friendships I have ever had, the strongest ones had a healthy dose of brokenness on both sides of the relationship.  

So how do we live a life of radical honesty?  First, we must be radically honest with ourselves.  We have to see our flaws.  We have to admit to ourselves how screwed up we really are.  We have to admit that we are not good people and are fatally fouled up beyond all human hope of recovery.  Then, we must be radically honest with God.  We need to admit that He sees how screwed up we are, even better than perhaps we know and that we will never be anything but terribly screwed up unless we let Jesus come in and take 100% control of our lives.  Then, we must trust God to be sufficient for us in all ways and risk opening up to one another.  As long as we hold on to the possibility that God may not be sufficient to meet all our needs, we will constantly fear losing our relationships, possessions and status because of our flaws.

Perhaps it is not the radical honesty that I admire in those people, but the great sacrifice of themselves to God that I admire.  Perhaps it is seeing the face of God in and through their whole selves that draws me to them.  Maybe it is God Himself and being able to know God more intimately by knowing these people.  Regardless, I want to strive to be so radically honest that I have no other option but to trust God and His complete sovereignty to sustain me.

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