Saturday, April 2, 2011


Here in Ecuador the Coca-Cola Company recently released a limited-edition Sprite. It now comes in a clear, transparent bottle. Dad bought one of them today, and after looking at it, I realized that we as Christians should be like this bottle.
Many of us hide our feelings behind the facade of what we feel a Christian should be-- joyful, happy. After all, Jesus gave us joy-- we should never feel down or discouraged, right?
I know that I am the kind of person that pretends everything is great, that I'm the happiest person on earth, that I never get discouraged. But then when I'm alone, I let my true feeling show through. I suffer in silence, hiding my pain behind a smile when I'm with others, trying to show everyone that I'm just great. Why? How on earth does this help me? Why do I let myself block other people out? Why don't I share my hurts with other people?
Because I'm scared.
I'm scared people will judge me, or that they won't understand me. I'm scared that no one will truly listen to me. I'm scared that if I open myself up and allow myself to become vulnerable, I'll open my heart and share it with others. The sharing itself is what I long for, but what scares me is the loss. I've left behind every friend I've ever had. It's what happens when you're a missionary kid. So sometimes, I have a hard time opening up and letting myself be vulnerable when I know other people could take that vulnerability and stomp all over it, breaking my heart in the process. Or maybe it's not the person's fault at all, but circumstances that cause separation and more pain.
A song from my favorite band challenges Christians to open up and stop their pretending:
"Would it set me free if I dared to let you see the truth behind the person you imagine me to be? Would your arms be open, or would you walk away? Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?" --"Stained Glass Masquerade" by Casting Crowns
Another song talks about the same thing:
"I'm just a well-dressed trick, I'm just a made-up mess, working hard trying to keep everybody impressed. All the while I'm falling apart on the inside. I look around to see, is anyone like me? First glance tells me, I'm all alone in the sea. The I look again, a little deeper. And we're all in the same boat, we all just need to know... We're all broken, we're all broken, and we all need a Savior... What if we all got brave, enough to take away all we're hiding behind, even just for a day? And let the scars show, even a little? I know the honesty would show us all to be... Broken, we're all broken, and we all need a Savior. We don't have to pretend about it, we don't have to keep acting like we're all okay. If we lift our eyes to the cross we'll see the reality... We're ALL broken."
--"Broken" by Steven Curtis Chapman
Many people, myself included, feel weak when they cry around other people-- or at all. We as Christians are promised hardships, but God doesn't want us to pretend we're not having them. It's not shameful to be suffering. God wants us to encourage each other, but how can we encourage each other if we're all hiding our pain?
Gos wants us to be like the new Sprite bottles: transparent. We need to share with others in our struggles and weaknesses. And we need to listen to other peoples' pain and suffering.
I challenge you-- and myself-- to stop hiding behind our fake smiles. Take off the mask, and show yourself for who you really are. Make yourself vulnerable, even if it means future pain. And then, listen to others--feel their pain. "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Rom. 12:15). God gave us Christian brothers and sisters to love and support, who are supposed to love and support us back. People who don't judge each other, because we're all sinners. People who, with God's love, must help and nurture and accept every person who suffers.
Be this kind of person. Open up, and then make other comfortable to open up around you. You'll be amazed at the encouragement and love that can be achieved.
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2).
Be transparent!


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