LENT Day 4 – Honesty

The Father who sent me, confirmed me.  And you missed it.  You never heard his voice, you never saw his appearance.  There is nothing left in your memory of his Message because you do not take his Messenger seriously.  – John 5 (What the Father Does, the Son Does)

Have you ever told a lie?  Have you ever told even just a little white lie?  How did you feel about it?  I’ve been in both places myself a time or two.  I’ve told little white lies to my children when they were toddlers.  Those lies seemed to be justified in my head and were easier to follow through with.  But most lies end up leaving me with a  terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.  That feeling doesn’t leave very quickly.  It lingers and festers and always ends up making me feel like a bad person.  Why is it so hard to just be honest ALL the time?  Why is there even a choice to be honest or lie?

My youngest daughter is 12.  When she was little she seemed to NEVER be honest.  At least that’s the way we felt.  Everything that came out of her mouth – even simple, small things weren’t true.  We had countless conversations with her about how important it was to be honest.  How the more she tells lies to us, eventually we won’t believe her when she is telling the truth.  If we are being honest – I felt like a failure as a mother that she did this and I was scared to death for her to grow into a teenager because I figured she would only get better at perfecting the lies the older she got.  Luckily she grew out of that stage and we actually joke about it now.

What I’ve found out over my adult years is just how beautiful honesty is.  Honesty builds relationships, builds trust, and most of all allows vulnerability to bring us closer to others.  How will we ever know if someone has a similar story if we all just keep things to ourselves?  We live in this picture perfect world of Instagram and Facebook.  Why would we want people to know the truth behind those perfect pictures?  In all honesty though most of us would love to know the truth behind those pictures.  The raw reality is we want to feel included.  We want to know that we aren’t alone.  The more we are honest with each other the more we know we aren’t alone.  I think it’s Brene Brown who says something about how we need to guard our deepest vulnerabilities and that not everyone is privy to your story.  This is true.  We don’t shout out our deepest, darkest truths from the rooftops.  But we also can’t be walking around keeping it all inside.  That brings us nowhere fast.  My prayers for you readers are that you can find a person or two that is safe to be truly honest and vulnerable with because you deserve that.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever been asked to do is to tell my testimony or faith story.  It was a time when I was a member of our church council and the council and staff were going on an overnight retreat and we all would be spending the weekend sharing our testimonies.  Before this, I had never shared my story with anyone.  Never.  This weekend ended up being one of the most special to me. Not only did I share my story but I got to hear all the others too.  Many of us had very similar experiences which we never would’ve known had we not shared.  I felt honored to be in the room with these people and treasured their stories in my heart.  We all felt safe in each others company to be raw and real.  And each person in turn listened intently and loved.

Today we pick up our story of John 5 at What the Father Does, the Son Does.  This is broken into two sections.  We are reading the first section today.  This is where Jesus is trying to be honest with everyone.  He desperately wants people to hear his truth because they are important to each person’s soul.

Today and yesterday work very closely together.  Jesus just wanted the people to listen to him.  He was honestly telling them the truth.  He desperately wanted them to hear his truths and believe in what he had to say.  Feel his desperation and urgency with the people around them.  Read this section today and feel it for yourself.  See just where you can relate.  Do you see yourself in his desperation and urgency?  Or do you see yourself in the people not taking him seriously?  Do you see yourself in the salvation?  Or do you see yourself in the judgements?

So Jesus explained himself at length.  “I’m telling you this straight.  The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing.  What the Father does, the Son does.  The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing.

“But you haven’t seen the half of it yet, for in the same way that the Father raises the dead and creates life, so does the Son.  The Son gives life to anyone he chooses.  Neither he nor the Father shuts anyone out.  The Father handed all authority to judge over to the Son so that the Son will be honored equal with the Father.  Anyone who dishonors the Son, dishonors the Father, for it was the Father’s decision to put the Son in the place of honor.

“It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this:   Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider.  This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living.  

“It’s urgent that you get this right:  The time has arrived – I mean right now! – when dead men and women will hear the voice of the Son of God and, hearing, will come alive.  Just as the Father has life in himself, he has conferred on the Son life in himself.  And he has given him the authority, simply because he is the Son of Man, to decide and carry out matters of Judgment.

“Don’t act so surprised at all this.  The time is coming when everyone dead and buried will hear his voice.  Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life; those who have lived the wrong way, into a resurrection Judgment.

“I can’t do a solitary thing on my own:  I listen, then I decide.  You can trust my decision because I’m not out to get my own way but only to carry out orders.  If I were simply speaking on my own account, it would be an empty, self-serving witness.  But an independent witness confirms me, the most reliable Witness of all.  Furthermore, you all saw and heard John, and he gave expert and reliable testimony about me, didn’t he?

“But my purpose is not to get your vote, and not to appeal to mere human testimony.  I’m speaking to you this way so that you will be saved.  John was a torch, blazing and bright, and you were glad enough to dance for an hour or so in his bright light.  But the witness that really confirmed me far exceed John’s witness.  It’s the work the Father gave me to complete.  These very tasks, as I go about completing them, confirm that the Father, in fact, sent me.  The Father who sent me, confirmed me.  And you missed it.  You never heard his voice, you never saw his appearance.  There is nothing left in your memory of his Message because you do not take his Messenger seriously.

When is the last time that you REALLY listened to a love one when they were revealing their honesty to you?  Did you take it to heart and believe them?  Did you support them or praise them?  Did you take them seriously and make them feel loved?

When was the last time that you REALLY were vulnerably honest with another?  Remember Jesus the next time someone is being vulnerably honest with you.  Listen to their truths.

Let’s start here – today just be honest with God.  Pray to him your honest truths.  He already knows them and is waiting for you to tell them to him.  Look above at the photos some of the reader’s chose for today’s word.  One of them picked a cross.  Jesus is the perfect example of honesty.  We read how honest he was with people while he walked the earth and he continues that with you and me today.  That is a BEAUTIFUL thing!

 

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