Lately, I think we are all trying a little too hard to look perfect, especially on social media.
But as followers of Christ, aren’t we supposed to be genuine and real? Aren’t we supposed to let others know that we have flaws and sufferings too? That we are imperfect people?
As I read 2 Corinthians chapter 1 this morning, I was overwhelmed by Paul’s honesty in his writing. When I think of Paul, I immediately think of strength, boldness, and courage. Sometimes, I forget that he did a complete 180 degrees in his life: he went from persecuting Christians to being a persecuted Christian. I can only imagine what that must’ve been like.
He didn’t try and hide what was happening to him. He told the Corinthians in verses 8-9:
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself… But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
I wonder if those words were a challenge to write down…to relive those burdens…to be vulnerable and open. I know it would be for me. I do not like to look weak. I do not like to let others know I’m struggling. I bottle my burdens inside.
But if you’re like me, you know this way only ends in destruction. As you self-destruct, you hurt not only yourself but others around you.
To read that Paul struggled this morning was almost a relief to me…to know I am not alone. I’ve known this all along, but God knows me. He knows I need to be reminded, and it is such a blessing when it is through the living Word.
You might be thinking: why does suffering have to happen? Why me?
Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians with: (v. 3-4)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
We suffer, because it is a part of life. We suffer, so that we understand what it is like: that life is not perfect. Life is hard, but with Christ we have comfort. With Christ, we know how to comfort others.
This is what transparency of faith is: to realize and admit that you are not perfect. To admit you have flaws. To show that you yourself are an imperfect being who needs a perfect Savior.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” -2 Corinthians 4:16
“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
If you are trying to keep up the perfect facade, let it go. He has already overcome all your struggles. He is ready to comfort you.
Be authentic. Be real. Be you.
You are not alone in your suffering. You. Are. Not. Alone. Keep fighting the good fight, brothers and sisters!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” -Romans 8:18