People may be pure in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their motives.
~ Prov. 16:2
This proverb is at once terrifying and wonderful.
It’s terrifying to consider the fact that the God who created us, also sees through us, to the reality of who we actually are. I can start to believe the facade I create to protect myself from the cruelty of the world, from the harshness of other people’s opinions of who I am – “if only they knew who I really was, what I really thought, what I really did, they would mock and hate me.” That facade is what others know of me, and, often times, outside the few people I allow in to see the real me, that’s how it will be until the day I take my last breath on this earth. We spend so much of our days constructing and maintaining these masks.
And yet, the terrifying part is that God sees right through the charades. Some translations of this proverb say that He “weighs” our motives, that He judges not the exterior but the interior, the stuff that mainly remains hidden to the outside world. As the author of Hebrews puts it,
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. ~ Heb. 4:13
I don’t know about you, but this proverb, this word in the book of Hebrews, leaves me feeling naked, exposed and vulnerable. The God of the universe knows the real me and, with that knowledge, will hold me, the real me, accountable. That’s terrifying.
The wonderful part, though, is that while knowing the real me – all the parts I try to hide or manipulate in such a way as to make myself presentable to the outside world and, in many ways, even myself – the Judge happens to also be the Redeemer. That passage in Hebrews goes on to remind us that, though we will indeed have to give an account for how we lived our lives, for the interior life that largely directs our words and actions, we have a great high priest, Jesus Christ, who is ever interceding for us before a holy and perfect Father. As our Lord and High Priest, Jesus not only makes those interior places clean, but then calls us out into the open, to live lives for the glory of God and for the good of all creation. He redeems us and makes it possible to for the interior to align with the exterior, an intersection where we become truly human again.
Father in Heaven, I confess all the ways I try to hide from you. I so often act as if you don’t know my thoughts, my motives – like Adam and Eve hiding after they sinned. The reality is you always know where I am, always know where I am hiding, yet graciously call out to me and invite me to yourself. Help me to accept your invitation to be real and known, to drop the mask and allow my authentic self to be transformed in your loving embrace. Amen