No Hiding Place
"Don't just pretend to be good…put away all deception, envy and fraud. Long to grow up into the fullness of your salvation."1
I read the other day about a little boy who loved to play Superman.
Each morning three-year-old Ray would ask his mother to pin a bath towel to the back shoulders of his size 2 T-shirt. Immediately in his young imaginative mind the towel became a brilliant magic blue and red cape. And he (in his fantasy) became Superman.
Outfitted each day in his "cape," Ray's days were packed with adventure and daring escapades. In his mind, he not only played Superman, he WAS Superman. This fact was clearly pointed out when his mother enrolled him in kindergarten class. During the course of the interview, the teacher asked Ray his name.
"Superman," he answered politely and without pause.
The teacher smiled, cast an appreciative glance at his mother, and asked again, "Your real name, please."
Again, Ray answered, "Superman."
Realizing the situation demanded more authority, or maybe to hide her amusement, the teacher closed her eyes for a moment, and then in a voice quite stern, said, "I will have to have your real name for the records."
Sensing he'd have to play straight with the teacher, Ray slid his eyes around the room, hunched closer to her, and patting a corner of the frayed towel at his shoulder, answered in a voice hushed with conspiracy, "Clark Kent."2
We laugh at this child's imagination and childish self-deception. Sadly, too many of us as adults put on a public face (our "Super-whatever" mask) and pretend to be outwardly what we're not on the inside so that we will be liked and accepted—and as a means of avoiding facing our own reality. And when we live with this deception for so long, we end up believing our mask is the real us. People may "like" my public mask but as long as I hide my true self, I will never feel loved and will end up living among people alone apart. The reality is that I can only be loved to the degree that I am known.
Furthermore, unless I admit to myself and to God who and what I really am, I will never be able to feel truly forgiven nor fully loved. We try, like Adam did when he sinned, to hide from God, which is totally unrealistic, since we can never hide from God no matter how we try. As David wrote, "Where can I go from Your Spirit [Oh God]? Or where can I flee from Your presence?"3 Much wiser and much healthier to come to God and admit who we truly are, ask for and find His forgiveness, and be freed to grow and become all that God envisioned for us to be and do.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You know me as I truly am and love me regardless. However, please help me to stop hiding behind any false front, to be honest with myself and with You so that I can experience Your forgiveness and become all that You want for me to be, and be an open channel through whom Your love can flow to others. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 Peter 2:1,3 (TLB/NLT).
2. Source Unknown.
3. Psalm 139:1-7 (NIV).