THE BEST PART OF HIDING IS BEING FOUND
Updated: Jan 29
“The best part of hiding is being found.”
-Emily P. Freeman
When I think of grace, I think of the word, beautifully written in calligraphy, on my mother’s wrist. I think of all those pretty ways grace is emphasized in quote pictures found on Pinterest or made by others to post on Instagram stories or Facebook. It even sounds beautiful as it rolls off the tongue.
But then I think about its meaning. I think about how grace requires something that needs forgiveness to begin with. Then, my mind shifts to my own items that have required forgiveness. My past certainly isn’t the cleanest. It’s not the “I don’t read my Bible enough” or “I don’t pray everyday” type of dirty. It is the kind that consists of smutty, immoral, hurtful, and dark things that honestly, shouldn’t and couldn’t be forgiven by the world.
So instead, I hid behind the faults of others so I could avoid facing my own. I didn’t want to admit that I messed up. I didn’t want to admit that I lied. I didn’t want to admit that I really screwed up with my friend. I didn’t want to admit that I went behind my parents’ backs. I didn’t want to admit that I was the liar, the manipulator, the wrong-doer, the addict, or the one hurting others. Why would I? Because who would ever forgive me if I came clean about my past? Who would even be able to look at me? Who would want to even be around me? Who would want to help me then?
The truth is, we don’t forgive others because we don’t forgive ourselves. And we don’t forgive ourselves, because we haven’t accepted the gift of pure grace from the only One who can give it to us. We pour out what we fill ourselves with intentionally or unintentionally. I was so full of my hurt and my past with all of its sin and what I thought was forgivable versus what I needed to stuff down deep so no one could see it. I came to Jesus with the lighter, easier, & prettier portions of my sin. I wrapped it all nice and tight, laced it with words that sounded holy enough and gave it up to God. But I still walked with heaviness.
It doesn’t always start this way though. It’s a progression. After taking a look at my sin, I dwell on it. It takes a seat in the house of my mind and reminds me of its presence. Holding this weight feels heavier after a while. I start to feel guilty. I know I’ve done the wrong thing. I know I've hurt someone. But over time, guilt turns into shame. I am ashamed of my actions. I am ashamed of my past. I can’t go to God with this. This is way too much. I can’t possibly forgive myself.
If you cannot forgive yourself, how can you possibly expect yourself to forgive others? This is where grace comes in. Jesus knows all too well when it comes to forgiveness. He washed the feet of citizens. He walked with and led 12 of his closest friends. He raised someone from the dead. He healed people. He defended others. He listened and counseled others. He believed in people society deemed worthless. He confided in others. Regardless of his title as “Savior of the World”, Jesus still lived a completely sinless life. He did no wrong. But Judas, one of his closest friends, betrayed him. I’m not trying to place a value on human life, but Judas betrayed Jesus for an amount that didn’t tip the scale in regard to impacting his life. Peter denied ever having known Jesus even after walking with him for 3 years. Pilate, yet another of Jesus’s friends who had the influence to actually have stopped his crucifixion, did nothing but refuse to take responsibility. And so he was whipped within an inch of his death. He was punched, kicked and beaten by Pilate’s soldiers. They crafted a crown where each thorn was 1-2 inches long and threw it on his head. The sap inside each of these thorns created painful blisters and came with a list of other hurtful symptoms. They nailed his skin onto a wooden cross and he was hung by his wrists. Citizen after citizen watched and made the choice to do nothing. They yelled and they mocked him. Jesus was tortured. He was humiliated. He was physically broken and crushed. And still, while the soldiers gambled for his clothing, Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 ESV).
Jesus advocated for them. He advocated for the people responsible for the world’s most painful betrayal. And there he stayed until he finally breathed his last breath. There isn’t a single thing you can do, no place you can go where His love won’t find you and His grace won’t encompass you. There is no sin too great and no distance too far from God where He won’t extend His grace to you.
In Genesis, when Adam and Eve took bites from the forbidden fruit, they hid upon hearing God walking through the garden. They hid because they were ashamed.
“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him ‘Where are you’?” (Genesis 3:9 ESV)
Kind of a funny question. God knew EXACTLY where they were. But He STILL asked because He wants us to come forward and meet with Him. That’s His invitation. God knows exactly where you are. He knows where you have been. He wants you to come forward and have faith. Is it so hard to believe that God desires to BLESS us and not take things away from us? The gift of grace is just that, a gift. You didn’t do anything to earn it. You don’t need to. Have a little faith.
“For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV).
Maybe your past isn’t like mine though. Maybe you grew up as “the good girl” or maybe you were raised in the church. Maybe because you “haven’t really done anything” or that you don’t fit into this category. Let me propose something else to you. What standards are you holding yourself to? How are you dealing with your failures or whenever you fall short? While these may not be the equivalent to “dark sin” they may still seem dirty to you. God doesn’t desire for you to live a life of striving. You don’t need to get as close to worldly perfection as you possibly can. Maybe instead of hiding behind your sinful past as I did, you hid behind a myriad of good works in hopes it will balance out your short-comings. You may feel that when you fall short, you’ve failed God. And then it can become tragic. But accepting grace for yourself means extending it to other people. Continuing on in Genesis...
“And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ He said ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’” (Genesis 3:10-11 ESV)
Again, funny questions God’s asking here. He knew exactly what happened. Your sin or short-comings do not come as some shock to God. He isn’t surprised. Notice how God asks Adam about who told him he was naked. The enemy loves to create division. He loves to give us labels that remind us of our faults and sin. He wants to see the guilt grow into shame as we become so comfortable we stay there. He asks Adam because again, God wants us to come to Him when we mess up. He wants to have our consent when it comes to talking about our sins because that’s how a relationship is built. He knows anyway, but your relationship with God is strengthened by your coming to Him.
You fill yourself up with the grace of God so you can extend it to others. So you can look at the Peters of the world and see something more than the pain they caused you. So you can change their world. Hurt is bound to come. But Jesus gave us the choice to accept His overwhelming grace every day so we can be equipped with the tools to deal with our hurt. But we need to accept and immerse ourselves in this gift before we can give it to others.
I encourage you ladies to stop hiding. Whether it be behind the faults of others or your own, and step out. Admit, “God, here I am. I’m not going to hide from you”. The freedom is worth being found.
Praying for each of you ladies this week. Thank you for reading and I will chat with you all next week!