Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inside and Out--One and the Same

Wednesday, June 20
Scripture Reading—Luke 6:43-45

 We live in a world that values appearances.  We want to look young, classy, and chic for as long as we can.  But sometimes, no matter how hard we try to alter our appearance, reality catches up with us.  Just the other day Amy and I went to a movie and were asked if we qualified for the senior discount.  Amy was highly offended.  I told her, “That’s what you get for hanging out with me!”  Just as there comes a point where we can no longer hide the fact that we’re getting older,  so also there comes a point in our lives when the person we really are on the inside cannot be kept out of view.  We often hide our true nature from ourselves and other people.  We call this “denial.”  We go to great lengths to hide our inward anger or greed by putting on a façade of kindness and generosity.  But we know the truth.  We want others to always think of us as competent, upbeat, and positive, so we work very hard to hide our tendencies toward slothfulness, cynicism, or depression.  When we’re tired or under stress,  our true character often comes through, making us painfully aware of our weaknesses.  One of Jesus’ greatest frustrations was seeing people who used their piety or religiosity as a cover for their true character.  He said a bad tree can’t bear good fruit.  The sad thing about all the energy we expend trying to hide our darker tendencies from ourselves, others, and God, is that God already sees us as we are—and God has already decided that despite our weaknesses and imperfections, we are loved.  The gospel is not a threat held over us that we will not be loved until we are good, but a promise that acknowledging our imperfections is the first step toward becoming the person God wants us to be.  Being a good tree that bears good fruit is not all up to us.  It is a product of receiving God’s grace and mercy and allowing God to form us into people who no longer have anything to hide—or anything to prove!

Thought for the day:  With God’s help, we can become good trees bearing good fruit.

 Prayer:  O God, you know me inside and out.  You love me as I am.  Help me, by your power, to become a person who is authentic, never trying to hide who I really am, on my way to being the same inside and out.  Amen. 

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