Reality bites. It does. To be authentic is to be raw and real. When was the last time you had a fall and scraped yourself? That raw wound stung didn’t it? You’d quickly clean it, apply some antiseptic cream and put a plaster over it to help it heal. But not all healing comes from covering up. In fact, cover ups can be damaging to self and those around you. When something is left to fester and is not acknowledged as something to be dealt with, it goes from bad to worse.
Recognising that you and I as children of God are part of a community, King Solomon in Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that iron is to sharpen iron. But if we’re all wrapped up, what good are we to sharpen and be sharpened by others?
Eight years ago, I was part of a mentoring group with our beloved Elder Chai Kee. One of the most distinguishing aspects about the group was how open and raw our sharing and prayers were. It was a safe place where we were able to ‘come clean’ about our failings, frustrations and foul ups. That honesty was precious and liberating. We held one another accountable, checked in on the progress made in our discipleship journey and encouraged one another to pursue Christlikeness with renewed fervour.
Two Sundays ago, our small group met over Zoom following the sermon when a member remarked at how open and honest Ps Adrian had been about an act in a moment of anger. We all have committed acts, harboured thoughts or spoken words we are ashamed of, but to publicly own up to them takes contrition and humility. That could well be that first step to drawing closer to God or returning to Him.
In disclosing our weaknesses, it can bring encouragement and strengthen the faith of others who can then know they’re not alone in their struggles. We need to remember we’re all on the journey of being sanctified and that makes our faith journey real. If we don’t struggle with our faith, maybe we aren’t grappling with it and exercising it enough.
Being authentic is about letting our guard down. It sounds contrary to do so especially in these times when the directive is to mask up. Authenticity requires us to go mask-less, rendering us vulnerable – the susceptibility to being judged, to be at risk of being thought lesser of, to become smaller in the eyes of others.
No doubt it runs counter cultural in a world where the strongest, bravest and most put-together persons are rewarded. But in a safe space with kindred of the same faith persuasion who are able to grasp the chief end of man being to glorify God, our lives and our choices are of vital significance to none other than the Giver of life – He who commands our life, our soul, our all. We live for Him alone and His affirmation is what we ought to truly seek. As fellow brothers and sisters in the household of faith, let us find opportunity to sharpen one another, so we can be effective in spurring one another on in our faith journey (Hebrews 10:24).
The wounds we have can be painful, but healing can come from bringing our wounds to the light rather than keeping them tightly under wraps.
By Brother Stanley Leong (YCKC Bulletin 24 May 2020)