Our Real Selves
The worst thing that happens to people when they dress up and go to a party is that they leave their real selves at home. –Marilyn Monroe, My Story
As Christians, we understand that we are sinners living in a fallen world and yet, even so, we try to hide our faults. We come to our churches and small groups wearing a facade that everything is fine and we don’t need any prayer or help or counsel.
We don’t want to be the only ones to admit to imperfection. It’s all well and good to talk about an ambiguous “them” and how they need to stop gossiping or how they should really think about how they’re raising their kids. But to look ourselves square in the face is a painful reality. We would rather leave our real selves at home.
Marilyn Monroe was looking at Hollywood from the outside in when she made the observation in the opening quotation. She realized she wasn’t meeting real people but only a flat, in-human version of themselves they put forward in order to keep things light and make sure everyone they met liked them. We tend to be the same way amongst our Christian brothers and sisters because it’s our natural inclination to protect our own reputations.
But the gospel frees us to be truly human. If we really understood that Christ’s forgiveness is enough, we would not be so inclined to hide behind niceties and “how’s the weather.” If we could allow one another to have faults that have been completely swallowed by Grace then we could more easily drop the facade of “fineness” and really love. Jesus embraced our imperfections unto himself and took them to the cross. When we look to him we can freely admit that we need prayer and help and counsel. In Christ we are free to be known.
So brothers, let’s bring our real selves to the table. As God’s chosen people, we can put on compassionate hearts and bear one another’s faults with kindness and humility (Col 3:12-13). Just as the Lord has forgiven us so greatly, let us forgive one another. And let that forgiveness be enough.