July 5, 2009

"You got mud on your face. You big disgrace."

I want to be real. I'm not quite sure why I feel this so strongly... is it an innate part of human nature to desire to be real, and be known truly? I think I understand the innate desire to be loved. Is being real part of that? I don't know. But regardless of why, I know I want to be bareface. (Bareface was the working title of Till We Have Faces, by the way. I think the title we have now is an improvement, but still, the old one makes me think.)

For a long time, we've (or I'll just say I have, depending on how well I know you) talked about transparency and honesty, how avoiding pretension- fake kindness, the polish of pleasing others- leaves a face, but a disgusting one. Seriously, the face below the mask is ugly! Wanting to hide this ugliness is why we have lines like, "Show them all your good parts, leave town when the bad ones start to show."

Since I want to be myself, I try to peel off the misleading. It's hard enough, terrifying at times, freeing at others. But what I'm realizing is that underneath my mask of social conformity is the dirt of selfishness. It's the grime of myself. This is the problem: I say I want to be myself, but the self is not desireable. Always being, or acting like, my self prevents me from being who I want to be - who I should be. So I must either cover the mess with a mask, which is only regression, or wash it off.

I can't wash my self off by myself. That makes no sense at all! It's the blood of Jesus that washes me, transforms me. I'm getting closer, getting rawer, getting truer. "Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." -Psalm 34:5

It is my masked face and my muddy face that feel shame. The true self needs not hide- why would it? Bareface, it reflects perfectly the image of God.


"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." -2 Corinthians 3:18


Eunice said...

Catchy title that so embodies your theme....

Michael said...

There is a stark difference between etching out your face and covering it up. An act of kindness isn't fake because you don't want to do it, it is real because you do it to make it yourself. Or the Holy Spirit does it through you to help wash away the hideousness of your face. Though, to bring in...I think a third analogy, it seems more accurate to say we need a New face, instead of just a cleansed one. And yet, if we are created in Gods image, intended to be perfect, then our sinful nature is a distortion of the original perfect face. I am taking these analogies too far.

I think I like "bareface" better than "Till we have faces", actually. But the second one sounds more poetry, so it got the vote.