Nothing prepares you to hear your wife say the words “something’s wrong.” Her voice on the phone was strained and almost frantic. I immediately agreed to meet her at the doctor’s office and hurried to tell my boss that I was taking an early lunch. My thoughts raced during the short drive as a rock formed in the pit of my stomach.
Why is it that laughter is lauded but tears are shameful? We’re okay with saying a guy is “funny” but to say he’s a “crier” is a bit of an insult. No one has ever vocally admitted this to me, but it sure seems to be a common perception. Real men don’t cry–not in public anyway. And if they do cry, that’s just weakness.
There’s nothing more torturous, yet more necessary, than hope.
There is nothing more satisfying than a realized hope, and there’s nothing more sickening than having your hopes dashed. Truly, the words Proverbs 13:12 resonate with our experience: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
We can’t help but hope. We hope for better days, for fulfilled dreams, for restored relationships, for financial security, for personal happiness. We tell ourselves the risk is worth the reward, we plug our ears when the pessimists call our hopes “wishful thinking” and we guard vigilantly against any threat to our hopes.
Perhaps you’ve seen it on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve heard it on the blogosphere. People are getting antsy under quarantine, no surprise there. Our worst fears about the Coronavirus have not been realized, praise the Lord there! But all of this raises several difficult questions. How long can they do this? How long can governors keep our economy shut down? How long can churches legitimately be told they can’t meet in person? How do we respond to violations of the constitution? And most importantly how do we as Christians think about being Americans?
Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize holiness often lack openness and honesty? Have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize openness and honesty often lack holiness?
One church seems to be filled with people who seem to have it all together, but who never bear the burdens of others or share their own. They keep to themselves, play the part, and mind their own business.
Another church is open, friendly, inviting, and ‘real,’ but never takes holiness too seriously. “Rawness” is elevated above righteousness.
Openness and Holiness—are they friends or enemies?
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