If we’re honest with ourselves, and one another, we hide a lot. For many, our greatest fear is becoming known––not simply by name, but by the very secrets we'd rather keep hidden.
We live in a world that tells us we’re to appear a certain way, and that if we appear that certain way, we’ll be accepted and successful. Because of this, we strive after a facade. We smile when we shake hands, telling everyone that “life is good,” when really, it’s depressing, and we know deep down in our hearts that the facade isn’t going to hold up any longer. We won’t stop trying to hold it up though, because the last thing we want is for people to know what’s truly going on.
“What if they know I’m depressed and contemplating suicide?"
“What if they know I’m addicted to pornography?"
“What if they know my wife has left me?"
“What if they know I’m out of a job?"
“What if they know I medicate with too many drinks every night?"
On and on the list of “what ifs” could go. We don’t want to live in these, but we’ll do just about anything to keep them hidden. We want to keep up our appearance. We want everyone to think everything is okay, and we certainly don’t want to burden other people with our problems.
To be truly known is terrifying. There is nothing more vulnerable than allowing others to see that which is invisible on the surface.
At the same time though, there is a tension. There is something in us that wants to be known. Something in us says that we shouldn’t have to hide, and that if we could simply let the facade crumble, the weight we feel on our shoulders would be lifted off as well.
The reason we feel like we’re not supposed to be in hiding, is because we’re not. The bible tells us that God created us in his image (Genesis 1:26-27), and being created in his image, we were created to live out in the open with him, and with one another. The bible says that when God created woman, she was placed before the man and they were both “naked and unashamed” (Genesis 2:25). This nakedness is not just physical and sexual. This nakedness is a beautiful picture of what it means to be truly known. The man and the woman were naked and unashamed before one another and their creator. There was nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of, and no facade. Everything was exposed all the time. And it was good.
Only when sin entered the world did the man and woman believe they needed to hide (Genesis 2:8). Not only did they hide, they covered themselves with fig leaves, and the comfort that existed before sin, was now hidden behind the scratchy discomforts of religion. The facade was on, and shame was the most present reality.
The bible offers us good news though. It is that God has not left us to be like this. He does not want us to remain in hiding, he does not want us to remain covered. He wants us to be vulnerable again, naked and unashamed. Because of this, he sent Jesus into the world. Jesus would come and live life with no shame, because his only concern was in what his Father’s opinion of him was, and in this, he did only what his Father told him to do. Jesus alone would live a life without sin, and in perfect openness before his Father and the world. However, his life would end in shame. He was hung on a cross––naked and as a spectacle before the world. There was no more shameful way for a person to die. It was at that cross though that Jesus would take our shame upon himself, and defeat the sin that makes the reality so present.
After three days, Jesus rose from the grave, and won the victory over Satan, sin, death, and Hell. In doing this, Jesus has made the way for us to be reconciled back to God, and back to one another. Because of the the cross, we can again live naked and unashamed. Because of the cross, we can be, and are, fully known.
Galatians 4:9 says, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”
What God has done, he has done so that we no longer have to turn back to hiding. For those whose faith is in Jesus, God now sees us only as he sees Jesus––perfect, holy, and clean. Naked and unashamed. In Christ, the facade can come down. You have nothing to hide. You are fully known!