Just look around and you can see it. A culture of superficiality has pervaded our society almost to the point where the lines blur between real and fake. Sounds harsh? Maybe, but it’s easily done and I can see areas in my own life where I’m guilty of being superficial.
We’ve become good at pretending we don’t have problems in our lives. And why not? Sometimes it’s easier to hide things for fear of judgmental eyes staring us down or developing anxiety over having to deal with a personal issue. As a Christian, we know we have sin in our lives, or at least we should know (1 John 1:8-10), but all too often, we hesitate to share our struggles because of the rejection or embarrassment that’s soon to follow. “If I can just make them think I’m ok, ” we say and before you know it, we’ve convinced ourselves we truly are ok. But deep down we know we’re not. Deep down, where the real you resides, you can’t be fooled. Those struggle you have are real. They cause real fear and real guilt. They create real anxiety and real consequences.
I would love at this point to encourage confession. 1 John 1:9 tells us that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” But let’s be honest. That’s easier said than done. It’s not so much God’s reaction that we worry about. We believe him when he promises to forgive us. It’s everyone else who hears about it and passes judgment or leers at us with a critical eye. It’s why you rarely see people publicly confess sin anymore. They don’t want to be the next topic of discussion when others start to gossip. If you confess a serious sin, others tend to treat you differently. But if you admit to something of a non-scandalous nature, some will think you’re inauthentic. Sounds like a no-win situation.
And yet, the Bible encourages us to confess (James 5:16). Maybe if we were to meditate on Romans 15:7, we could make confession much more acceptable and do away with a lot of superficial behavior in our churches. That passage reads, “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” When you are with people who accept you fully, who look past your mistakes and see the work God is doing in your heart, your wounds can begin to heal and God is praised in the process. It doesn’t mean that we accept sin but that we treat others the way God has treated us. It means we project our true self to others, sin and all, and we are willing to embrace those around us even when their imperfections show. Christ looked at my sinful, broken state and still died on my behalf. Shouldn’t I do the same for others?
Be encouraged today to be more transparent with your brothers and sisters in Christ over your problems with sin in your life. And be the one to encourage others when they confess their own difficulties. Refuse to condemn them or gossip about them and instead be there to catch them when they fall. Because God knows we could all use each other as a safety net sometimes.