Who really knows you? Not the you on Facebook, or the you at work, but the one who, when no one else is looking, bears your name. Some of us would say that our close friends know us, but rarely do those friends know what we are like at work. Most of us would say that our family knows us, but how much does mom really know after we have moved out and started a family of our own? Or, how much does our spouse see when, thanks to the internet, we can have multiple secret accounts? Do we even really know ourselves?
The truth is that, no matter how well we advertise ourselves, everyone views us a little differently. Our friends from childhood view us differently from our friends now. Our co-workers view us differently than our children. We even see ourselves in light of what we picture as the ideal in ourselves. No, there is only one person who can see real us; God himself (1 Sam 16:7b). The Bible says that God can peer so deeply into the real us, that he can even distinguish between the soul and the spirit (Hebrews 4:12). This isn't a basis for trichotomy, but a reminder that God knows us more intimately than we even know ourselves. It is because of this clear understanding of us that God is in the best position to understand our needs, to direct our steps, and to assess our decisions.
Ultimately, God is the one who can see the real you. That may horrify you, but consider one thing. Even after seeing you this way, He still decided that you we worth dying for to redeem. So, may I ask the real you a question? Are you ready to live following after Him?
Me and Sarah aren't particularly media savvy, but I have noticed lately that the tag "sorrynotsorry" has been quite popular (it's currently sitting at 9.8 million references on Instagram). Sorry-not-sorry is one of those terms that is what "whatever" was to me as a teenager. In America especially, it is a way for us to proclaim our independence from apologizing to others. After all, why should I apologize for being who I am?
I think that the Bible is clear about our identity: "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:27) All of us bear God's image. All of us. Those of us who have surrendered our lives to God can go further and say that, "outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (2 Cor. 4:16) So, if this is true we have to take a look in the mirror. When it comes to our attitude towards others, our goal is not to step on people shamelessly as we try to claw our way to the top, but instead we should gently lift up each other ahead of us (Matt. 20:25-27).
Sorry not sorry is a way of writing off people, of being unapologetic. We don't write others off as Christians. We simply can't. God made everyone in his image, which includes your spouse as well as the guy who cut you off in traffic. Instead, I think that our challenge in this cynical time is to develop genuine compassion for others. There are a number of ways that we do that, but it starts by changing our #sorrynotsorry, to #iamsosorry.
Did you know that you are called to be a leader? Notice I didn't say a pastor, or a lifegroup leader, or founder of _insert new ministry here__. Leadership is something bigger than just a title. 2 Corinthians 3:6 says that God "has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant", and later "we are ambassadors for Christ." (5:20) These letters were not written to Great Leaders like Moses or King David. They are found in letters to the church…letters to you and to me.
I am thankful to be a part of a church where our leadership is not a person, but a team of people answering to God. One thing you may not know about this church though, is that it wasn't started by a board of leaders. It was started when regular Christ followers started to pray for God to use them! Similarly, when we take up our role as leaders and start to serve in the church, spread the gospel, grow in our lifegroups, something amazing happens. God's message of hope isn't just shouted by a dedicated few anymore. Instead, when 3, or 30, or 300 of us join in, then God's message spreads out over this city like a megaphone!
You may not consider yourself a leader, but God has given you a light that is brighter than you can contain. You don't have to become a great speaker to shine it. You just have to stand up and follow His lead.