A Moment of Transparency

Social media, the internet, and casual personal acquaintance can paint a picture of someone that is not full reality. We all put our best foot forward. As an artist and writer, this is especially true with a "public persona" in my own small corner of influence. While that person is genuine, it can paint a one dimensional image.

"An artist and writer" sounds impressive, with images of what we perceive this to be. Most people judge this by whatever abilities are displayed. Yet, this does not measure a man. Behind the curtain, truth is more complicated. In my past I had willful sins and great weaknesses. In addition, I hid away from the world in fear, reduced to one room for years. With severe OCD, I sat alone, isolated much like Howard Hughes later in his life. Attempting some sort of connection, I went about it all wrong. This resulted with being mentally and emotionally abused by a woman for nearly eight years. As a grown man, I was reduced to humiliation in the lowest degree.

There is no responsibility for my life, choices, and failures, but my own. At one time, my weaknesses defined me. Most of my past involved either emotional and mental problems or living with my own choices. It was a long period with nothing but regret as the fruit. Though this no longer defines my life, it casts a shadow of long, wasted years.

These things are sobering. They are a bummer, why should we talk about them? For the same reason the Bible portrays figures transparently, revealing the good and bad of who they are. The truth paints a more realistic picture of who a man really is.

I can now look behind at many things. It is a good feeling to be free, enabled by the grace of God in Jesus Christ to look back from the blessed standpoint of the present. Yet, this too can be deceiving. Today I am certainly not perfect. Just ask my wife, she lives with me every day. You cannot hide who you are in a viscerally close relationship like marriage. Yet, I am different, healed, transformed, and growing-all the while social anxiety continues to plague me. I devote myself to the Savior who saved me. Whatever I may be which is positive is solely because of the transforming grace of Jesus. This is no hyperbole. My own ways hurt myself and others. "I Did it My Way" was a plane crash. It is only by God's mercy He has enabled me to have an attitude of repentance. That submission is not even my own, it is His work within me. What do I have materially, circumstantially, and spiritually, that I have not received? Zero.

There is a reason God hates sin, a reason why He calls us to repent. Sin hurts ourselves and others. Our wrongs grieve God. He has guidelines for our lives for our own good, for the good of society and the people around us. If we think our behavior hurts no one but ourselves, this is by no means true. No man or woman lives on a island. In our natural state we do not display the original intent of His creatures to reflect His holy nature, for we are fallen. Even as Christians, so many times we wander in our sinful hearts.

Praise God for His unearned, freely given grace in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He alone is our joy and hope. Praise God for second chances as we stumble, indeed the constant chances. Without God's loving-kindness and grace in Christ we are all continual prodigals. There is no good but God, to Him we look to free us. What joyful healing in our innermost being.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing". John 15:5.

Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. Romans 6:21.

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