Yesterday I saw friends who are travelling through New Zealand. It is always pleasant to to catch up with people. As we drove around Auckland he asked a really good question.
It was a helpful moment to reflect.
The quickest thing to mind is that I’m more committed to openness. One of the impacts of the injury was to reduce my ability to filter what I say. It lead to a few embarrassing moments which won’t be detailed here. It also made me more aware of how we make choices about what we say, how we live and how we present ourselves.
Sometimes ‘filtering’ can be ‘masking’. It is good to set a guard over our lips – to not speak every thought that passes through the neural matrix. However there are times that I, that we, choose to filter not because of a concern for ourselves rather than truth, beauty or honouring God but rather because we are concerned for our honour.
It is all too easy for Christians, and leaders in particular, to become ‘masked’ in a thin veneer of what looks like integrity but is actually just PR; carefully engineered brand management.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24
But there is hope for you and me: not a call to ‘do better’ but rather a call to being transformed from the inside out.
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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 3:7-17
I want to live with less filtering, no masking, and more transparent integrity: transformed inside out by the glory of God.
There is of course a covering that the heart needs – the covering of Christ Himself - which anticipates the great uncovering of all truth: the Day the whole of creation is waiting for.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
Oh God who knows the human heart – unveil in me the Glory of the Lord Jesus. May my unmasked heart reveal your goodness, grace and mercy at work in a sinner like me. Grant to me the joy of living an open life as you bring the culmination of the ages closer each day.