The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. Thomas Macaulay

Frightful this is in a sense, but it is true, and every one who has merely some little knowledge of the human heart can verify it: there is nothing to which a man holds so desperately as to his sin. Søren Kierkegaard

Judas liked to hide who he really was. As an example, in the gospel of John, it tells us that he would take money and conceal that from Jesus and the others (John 12:6). You can picture Judas taking a few extra coins out of a pouch and secretly placing them in his left pocket. Later on, he would go off without anyone knowing and go spend his little stolen fortune. Perhaps he would go off with a prostitute and take bliss in the secrets of the night or go off and dine alone with some food that was more to his taste as the disciples ate the same thing day after day—some unleavened bread and fish. It was second nature for Judas to conceal who he really was.

Believers typically like to hide too. In my own life, when I was in college and had just become a Christian, I can remember scampering past my friend Greg’s door, concealing a bottle of wine, praying he would not open that door and catch me with that bottle hidden under my trench coat. Greg had led me to my faith and I didn’t want him to know I was still really struggling—with drinking, staying up until the wee hours of the night smoking pot, sleeping with my girlfriend, etc., etc., etc. During that spring semester, often I wore a mask around him, presenting a person who wasn’t the real me. When around him, I would always play a part as if I was some Oscar winner in a film. I played it well and fooled most of those around me. In the end, they never really knew the whole story or the real me.

But during those early college years, I did know who I really was, and it was hard living that way. I was still very scared to show who I really was and to be honest, I really didn’t want to change anyway. On the one hand, Christians seemed very loving and kind to one another, but in comparison to my life, their lives seemed rather drab and boring. This is what I thought, anyway. My life seemingly had an excitement to it and that was very hard to give up. At the same time, it was also very tiring and difficult to live that way on a day-to-day basis.

Those who just believe are always playing these two roles. It is the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. If you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the theaters or read the J.R. Tolkien’s books, believers are like the character of Golem—one day all smiles and the next, wearing a mean and vicious face. On some days, believers are true to themselves and their convictions and on others, they let loose and do as they please. As this continues to go on and they live in these two realms, slowly, but surely, they will begin to play a part—the character of the “Christian.” Believers who stay this way too long end up only playing a part or role. Proper haircut: check. Bible in hand: check. Smile on my face: check. No cuss words: check. Religious talk: check. You get what I mean? It can be so easy to play the part of the Christian, and yet fool everyone, even ourselves. But this stuff is not what a relationship with God is based on, is it?

And the even greater danger is this—unless we come clean to someone about what we are struggling with, who we really are behind closed doors—often we will continue to go to church, perhaps even be involved, but we will do everything we can do to hide who we really are. This then becomes the real you; the person you hide from everyone:

  • I lie all the time about my accomplishments and past. I exaggerate a lot.
  • I am always screaming at my kids. They often have looks of terror on their faces.
  • In truth, I despise my husband and do not love him any longer. I have been flirting with the guy who sits near me at work.
  • I’ve been doing cocaine with a guy from work—only two people know about this side of my life (me and him).
  • Late at night, when everyone’s asleep, I surf the web for porn. When the credit card statements come, I quickly pay them off so that no one will know.
  • I tell some of my friends’ really awful things about someone we know. I don’t know if any of it is true.
  • Some friends and I have been cheating on our exams this semester. It’s easy. I would know this stuff if I would study, so what’s the harm?
  • I’ve been having suicidal thoughts. I recently bought a gun.
  • I’ve lost $5,000 gambling in the last six months and my husband doesn’t know.
  • I’ve been stealing money from my roommate.
  • I’,m married and I can’t stop thinking about having sex with a co-worker. We’re both men.

This is a very perilous place to be because as we keep this life hidden, everything underneath will begin to fester, and then it will become more and more difficult to reveal the real person behind the mask—to genuinely come forward about those weaknesses and sins in our lives. In the end, we will just be playing a role to which we get better and better at playing. We may even win awards and adulation, but as for the real us, we know who that person really is.

In: Friend to Jesus
Tags: , , , , ,