We are masters of deception. We craft ways to hide who we are and the mistakes that we make because we are afraid of what others will think of us if they know the truth. The truth is that we use our achievements, our things, and our status in an attempt to make up for our failures and shortcomings. We paint a picture for the world that everything is ok, when everything is far from ok.
Music today frustrates me. I grew up in the era of grunge rock and I loved it. Bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were always playing in my car and I was excited to get a new album and hear the lyrics and music. If I say what I’m about to say, you’ll probably think I’m just old, and I might be – but it seems like music today for the most part is worthless. Pop music is now the sound-of-choice and lyrically, Pop songs make me want to vomit. The music may be catchy, but lyrically they are empty, shallow, and silly. A musician I like very much recently mocked the lyrics of one of the top songs that kept his own music from reaching the charts, “…brilliant…” he sarcastically chided. I agree.
However, every now and then a song will come out that nails culture to the wall and exposes dark truths that people hide. For decades that’s been one of the purposes of rock music, to voice an observation or an opinion of how culture works and to expose it. I recently heard a song that did this well. The lyrics go something like this; “Places, places, get in your places, throw on your dress and put on your doll faces. Everyone thinks that we’re perfect, please don’t let them look through the curtains. Picture, picture, smile for the picture, pose with your brother, won’t you be a good sister? Everyone thinks that we’re perfect, please don’t let them look through the curtains.”
I’ll pause while you read it again.
This song calls us out, doesn’t it? It speaks the unspoken truth that we constantly hide who we are and we put on a facade for the world that things are wonderful and perfect with us. Our false logic tells us that everyone else seems to have it together, so we should too; everyone else appears sinless and perfect, so we should too. We like to think we can hide the truth.
This logic of hiding is the same that Adam and Eve used in the garden when, after they failed and sinned, they dressed themselves and attempted to hide the truth from God. They thought they could appear to have it all together.
Can I let you in on a little secret? Everyone else doesn’t have it all together.
In fact, we’re all messing things up pretty badly. Our Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds might give off the appearance of perfection, but it’s only because we’ve crafted them to do so.
We mess up. All the time.
So why do we hide it? I submit that we hide our faults and our failures because we are consumed with worry and anxiety over how others will view us if they knew the truth. We worry that we won’t be liked or accepted if other people knew how broken and lost we are. We have built a culture that esteems perfection, and how silly, because none of us are perfect.
There isn’t perfection, but there is brokenness.
There are people who have made mistakes and who live entangled in lies and falsehoods and who are one moment away from losing control of it all.
The truth? We don’t have to hide.
We don’t have to polish up who we are and the mistakes that we’ve made. We don’t have to pretend that our shortcomings don’t exist and we don’t have to make excuses for ourselves every time we fall short. We don’t have to sew together foolish facades and hide behind them as our parents did in the garden.
What we do need to do is admit that we are broken, admit that we don’t have it all figured out, and admit that we fail – often.
The truth is that there is beauty that comes of our brokenness.
Without it, we wouldn’t be able to point to the one who isn’t broken. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to sit humbled before the one who is perfect. The beauty of our brokenness is that in it, we can point to the one who rescues us from it and accepts us despite of it. Being honest about our brokenness puts us in a place where we can exalt and find comfort in the only one who can repair it, Jesus Christ.
But first, we have to be honest about our lives. We have to be honest about needing rescue.
Christ doesn’t call those to him who are perfect, in fact it’s quite the opposite. We don’t clean up, get things in order, and then come to Christ – we come to Christ in our brokenness and in our mess and He cleans it up – not us.
Perfect people don’t need rescue.
Broken ones do.
In Old Testament scripture, we see God establish a system of sacrifices. His people would need to rely on a priest who would offer daily sacrifices for their sins, for their brokenness, for their imperfections. This priest would stand and day after day offer sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. His work never stopped because the people never stopped sinning and falling short of who God had called them to be. Sound familiar?
The good news is that we now have a high priest who has made the ultimate sacrifice, who once and for all has paid for our brokenness and has completed His work and is no longer standing daily to offer sacrifices, but is seated in perfection and completion.
The writer of Hebrews unpacks it for us, recalling the old system of sacrifices and comparing it to the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf;
“…He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:9-14)
Our brokenness has been paid for, our failures have been redeemed, once and for all. We don’t have to maintain perfection, achieve some status of good works, or repeatedly lose and gain back our acceptance by Jesus – His work on our behalf is complete.
What we do have to do is be honest about our brokenness, because when we are honest about our brokenness, only then can we point others to the rescuing work of Jesus Christ.
There is no need to maintain a facade of perfection, because perfect people don’t need Jesus – broken ones do.
There is no shame in our dependence and reliance on Christ, there is much shame in playing out the lie of living a perfect life. Christ has come to rescue the broken and to redeem you from your failures, all of them.
May we stop pretending that we are perfect, and may we allow people to look through the curtains. When they do, let them see that in our imperfections we are constantly pointing to the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf as the one who has rescued us, redeemed us, and made us whole.