Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When We Get Behind Closed Doors

I like NASCAR but hate country music (go figure): too many achy hearts, empty whiskey bottles, childish adulterers, and twangy vocals. That probably explains why I like the food at Texas Roadhouse well enough, but hate eating there! Regardless, an old cross-over country tune from my childhood brings to life a well worn phrase that I think has some spiritual applications.

I think virtually everyone has an outside face and an inside one. Not that everyone is markedly two-faced, or hypocritical, but they are divided. The outside face is the one people see. For apparently holy Christians, generally, that face is self-controlled, successful at its endeavors, happily married, great at parenting, doubtless in faith, and growing in Christ. For virtually all of us, especially apparently holy Christians, that is not entirely true about us when no one is looking. When we're alone in the room, we see the inside face: frustrated, confused, self-loathing, fearful, doubtful, even despairing our lot or the possibility that we'll ever be different, better.

Why do we feel the need for the dichotomy? Maybe we're afraid of what people will think, or that we'd be ostracized if we went about maskless. Maybe we're egotistical and need to prop up our self-delusion lest the statue we've painstakingly sculpted crumbles. Maybe we're just that pathetic. Regardless, our lot is all too human, too common, two-faced. Is our hypocrisy actually hypocrisy, or is it just humanity?

I think our private rooms exist, closed off, in the space between the walls. On one side of those walls is the space which all see. On the other side of those walls is the space where God sees all. In between are the secret passages, the places where rats dwell unseen. Afraid of being a rat in God's presence, or being seen as a rat in the world's, we gnaw at our inner turmoil in the hidden space in between. Why do we feel the need?

Could it be, deep down inside we don't understand Christ? This one, who with eyes wide open, went to the cross for the likes of us! Did he do that in order to become dependent on us, or because he needs us, or because he has some expectancy of us? No, he did that because he loved us, as we are, as he knew us to be, warts and all, nothing hidden. As long as we feel the need to hide our inner rat, we'll neither be free in the world nor in our own spaces. Freedom and joy come to the rat unafraid of being a rat in God's room. Grace will always be no more than a theory, until it gets behind closed doors.


Kevin Jackson said...

True for myself. Thanks for the reminder that God accepts me.

SLW said...

Thanks pizza man. I was afraid this was a little obtuse, but it's good to know the message got through to you. God already loves us, I'm ready to be loved.

Anonymous said...

it is really good to be loved...warts and all.

SLW said...

Yeah Nanc, the alternative isn't too hopeful!