We've been talking about justification, sanctification, and conspiracy theories. (I know - it wasn't exactly what I planned, either. But here we are.) And the reason that I've gone ahead and spent as much time on this as I have is simple: it leads us into something holy and God-pleasing that we need to talk about.
And that holy and God-pleasing thing is honesty.
Now, given the context, we could add a couple of related ideas in here - integrity, perhaps. Authenticity, for another. But what it boils down to is honesty.
Because by now, my hope is that what you can see is that the root of these types of problems that we have with one another are truth problems. And these truth problems arise not from a set of external facts and circumstances, but from an internal posture.
So much of the trouble that we have with truth in our world is that we are not willing to be honest with ourselves.
In fact, we've been taught that we don't have to be. We've been told that we don't have to do the hard work of confessing our flaws, or even of owning them. If someone else has a problem with who we are, if we don't live up to our own expectations, then that's everyone else's problem. We are who we are, and we should stop being apologetic for that. There are all kinds of sayings and attitudes throughout our world about who can and can't 'handle' us and boldly throwing out there that we are who we are and if you don't like it, then 'bye.' We have been taught to be unapologetic for ourselves and in turn, that has taught us to be unrealistic about ourselves.
Every single one of us believes we are infallible. It's why life so often takes us by surprise in devastating ways. We've been taught to believe that we're untouchable, or at the very least, that we ought to be. There are even those who go so far as to say "This is the way that God made me," and to use that as an excuse to never grow, change, or confess.
But what we've seen in the past few days in this space is that it is this kind of attitude that leads us to all kinds of troubles with one another. And I'm not just talking about those that we come in contact with who make it difficult for us; it's us, too. All of us have a tendency for this. All of us have a tendency to believe that we're never the problem, to project our own insecurities onto others, and to stay grounded in conspiracy theories when the words we're being told sound all too much like the lies we've been telling for too long.
The first step, then, that we have to take toward reconciliation - with each other and with ourselves - is not to get the other person to confess. It's not to be proven right. It's not to be justified, as we introduced the topic on Friday. The first step is not so expose this grand falsehood in the world.
The first step is to expose it in ourselves.
The first step toward our reconciliation is to become ourselves the kind of persons we wish that others would be - honest. Honest with ourselves. Honest about ourselves. We have to be persons willing to confess the places where we're hung up, the places where we're getting it wrong. The places where we're insecure and prone to misconstrue things. We have to set an example of what it means to really be raw in the world, not as an unfinished product but as a work in progress, as persons believing we are not perfect, but we're being perfected. As persons believing we can do things better and being the first ones to step out and do so.
And thankfully, as persons of faith, we have exactly the foundation that we need to do this.
To be continued, tomorrow....