I was talking to an older friend yesterday when the conversation turned to a mutual friend of ours and they said in passing "I don't know them very well". The conversation changed again and I didn't think about it 'till later but it struck me as odd. This friend had been going to our church for over 5 years, he is an active member and is definitely not very quiet! He has helped my older friend's family move to a new house, has helped with yard work multiple times and has gone out to eat and hung out with them and yet they can say honestly that they don't know him very well.
It really makes me sad but it also makes me stop and check my heart.
Why didn't they know him very well? Why don't I know some people better? I felt like the Lord showed me 2 reasons why.
1) They just didn't really care about him and what was going on in his life. But they know who to call when they need help. Why? Because they know what he can offer them more than they knew who he is. I know that might sound harsh but I'm being honest. It hurts to say but I have been on both sides of the situation.
2) Neither he nor they would be real. They wouldn't let the walls down. It seems to be an epidemic in churches nowadays. You can't show them who you really are for fear or rejection. Being transparent and real means leaving yourself vulnerable. You open yourself up. Now granted, you shouldn't do that with everyone and there are parts of you that only the Lord need know. But the church is beyond that. We have gotten to a place that we can't even show our smallest faults or problems for fear of gossip or rejection, and I'm sorry but that's not the sort of fellowship the Lord left us with. The words to the Casting Crowns song, Stained Glass Masquerade, ring so true:
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
These are my favorite lines of the song and have rung so true in my life:
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay
I have tried so hard ( I really don't need to... my faults are quite easy to see) to be real in a fake world. I want to be a clear glass, not a frosted one.
These thoughts haven't made me judge what my friend has said but instead made me check my heart and my motives in friendships. I want to know my friends, not what they can do for me.