hiding our hearts

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. Even after I finished my assignment, nada – it was actually pretty annoying because I had to be up at 6:30am. At 4:30am, I gave up and decided for some reason to sit down and write out my testimony for the first time. It took a while, but I finished it off, thinking it was done.

I guess God kept me awake to teach me something, because at church, the pastor shared a heartbreaking but hope-inspiring message about the Pharisees and their stories.

We know the Pharisees were all about cleanliness – they valued clean eating, clean gravestones, etc; the word Pharisee literally means “separated one” or “holy one.”

In Matthew 23:27-28, Jesus contracts this. He calls the Pharisees greedy, self-indulgent, wicked, and (worst of all) hypocrites. He calls them whitewashed tombs –  beautiful on the outside but full of the bones of the dead. On the outside, the Pharisees were actors and pretenders. On the inside, they were a jumble of tangled motives and divided hearts and secret sin.

The thing is: Jesus was not confronting the deepest sins of their hearts. He was confronting their hiding of it (just like Adam and Eve did, actually) – their refusal to bring brokenness into the light.

I learned that we can only truly know God’s love if we know and own our testimonies. Because if we distance ourselves from the parts we don’t like, we end up distancing ourselves from the possibility of love and healing. I also learned that I somehow grew to adopt the idea that God only loves the good version of me, not the broken version of me.

So when writing my life testimony, I was doing two things: one, editing out parts that I was ashamed of sharing, and two, even hiding these parts from God. Honestly, I know in my head that one of the simplest principles of Christianity is that God accepts us as we are. But I still think it’s one of the hardest to accept.

Poignant quote in light of this:

“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on ‘going it alone.’ Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.” -Brené Brown


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