Friday, September 30, 2016

"Fully Disclosed"

1st Timothy 5.25 NAS

“Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.”

When my daughter Rachel was 4 years old, she loved to play hide-n-seek. However, she was not very good at it. She had the mistaken notion that if she could not see me, then it followed that I could not see her. It was comical to watch Rachel with hands clasped over her face and eyes closed really tight… and the back half of her little body sticking out past the back side of the reclining chair in plain view.

Try as hard as we might, we cannot hide, ignore, or cover our good deeds or mis-deeds. They will one day soon become fully exposed. In truth, even now we are more transparent to those around us than we think we are.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be
made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what
you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”
Jesus, Luke 12.2-3 NIV

We should take the words of Jesus seriously. We are wise to behave behind closed doors in a manner that would not mortify or shame us if our private actions were published on the front page of tomorrow’s Oregonian. 

Jesus said, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5.16 NLT). How does this square with His other message: “Take care that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6.1 NKJV)? Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer offered this explanation:

“How is this paradox to be resolved?”, wrote Bonhoeffer.
“The first question to ask is: From whom are we to hide the visibility of our discipleship? Certainly not from other men, for we are told to let them see our light. No. We are to hide it from ourselves. Our task is simply to keep on following, looking only to our Leader who goes on before, taking no notice of ourselves or of what we are doing. We must be unaware of our own righteousness, and see it only in so far as we look unto Jesus.” [1]

According to Bonhoeffer, when I perform a good deed, I should not let my left hand know what my right hand is doing so that my deed may be kept a secret… from me!

Jesus promised, “You shall by My witnesses…” (Acts 1.8 NASU). Apparently, I have no real choice in the matter of being a witness. I am one. My life witnesses for the truth of who I am and what I believe. Jesus calls me to become an active witness of who He is. That cannot happen unless I am a Jesus follower. Every single living soul witnesses to the truth of who they really are. It cannot be helped.

Ultimately, who I am is defined by my words and actions. The real ‘me’ cannot be concealed. I may as well participate early in the journey of truth. Secrets cannot be kept for long. I have nothing to lose that I won’t eventually lose anyway. There’s no reason not to take the risk try to become the fully disclosed person God designed me to be.

_________________

[1] The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Simon & Schuster, 1949, p. 158.

The cartoon at the top of the post was drawn by talented cartoonist Chris Madden and used here with his gracious permission. I changed the message. The original thought balloon said "Burying my head in the sand over climate change is much easier now that half the world's turned to desert!" Check out his website at http://www.chrismadden.co.uk/.

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