Someone asks, “How are you doing?” Convinced they don’t really want to know the truth, we say, “Fine!” or “Fabulous!” or “Great!”
These expressions concerning our circumstances, events or feelings are sometimes somewhat true. Sometimes they are spoken in an almost desperate attempt at speaking faith. Sometimes, seeking acceptance and approval, we mask up and hide our vulnerable selves and tell the modified truth.
Jesus, our example, was transparently honest. He was so real there was no difference in His “inside” and His “outside.” He could accept Himself and His feelings – and express them truthfully. He was not afraid of being honest because He was not interested in image, image-making, or image-maintaining. However, his honesty was healthy. His honesty concerning circumstances, events and feelings were never statements made to solicit praise, admiration or acclaim, nor to solicit pity or to cover for an apparent failure. There were never vindictive words. Nor did he ever come across with an “I don’t care – it doesn’t hurt me” attitude. He could honestly face and state facts as they were and as they affected Him, and at the same time maintain a healthy attitude and go straight ahead regardless of present circumstances and resulting feelings. He was not ashamed of His highs nor His lows. We magnify Him in His highs; we identify with Him in His lows. I love and lean on a high priest touched by our infirmities. As a believer, I want to minister in the same way.
Briefly consider these statements of facts made by Jesus. They were neither avoided to protect His image from our knowledge of his lack or hurt, nor were they made to gain sympathy. They were just facts of life about which He could be healthily and honest.
Matthew 8:20 – He had no home – no place to go. Yet, He kept going.
Matthew 17:27 – He needed money; just enough came, just in time.
Mark 6:4 – He did not receive honor which rightfully belonged to Him – but kept on ministering.
Luke 8:3 – He had material needs and received help from others.
Luke 7:41-50 – He needed the expression of pure love and received it gracefully.
John 6:60-69 – He lost a lot of followers, as misunderstood, needed assurance of the loyalty of others and was not afraid to ask for it.
Luke 6:70-71 – He was fair and peaceable with the weak and traitorous – went on working with them.
John 7:1-6 – He was held in doubt and suspicion and knew it – but remained kind and did not react.
John 6:67, Matthew 26:40 – He needed comfort and assurance and was not ashamed to seek it from His friends.
Luke 13:34 – He knew the feeling of failure of an accomplished desire – but continued to give His best.
John 19:28 – He needed creature comforts and could ask for them.
Matthew 27:46 – He knew rejection as part of God’s will.
We have the recorded stories of these occasions – times when he was not “fine” or “great” – only because He was honest about them. His contemporaries observed Him living through the hurts as well as the highs of life and loved Him still.
“The God of all comfort . . . comforteth us . . . that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble. Our consolation aboundeth by Christ” (I Corinthians 1:3-5).
“Strength is made perfect in weakness. When I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:9-10).