Speaking of Life

Honest to God

Each of us has wrapped ourselves in layers of emotional camouflage, to cover up our fears and feelings of inadequacy.

(3.3 minutes)
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Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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Have you ever seen the cartoon of a little boy kneeling beside his bed, with a paper bag over his head? “I’ll tell you what I did”, he confesses to God. “But I am not going to let you see who I am.”

To some extent we are all like that, aren’t we? Each of us has wrapped ourselves in layers of emotional camouflage, to cover up our fears, our insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. And often this camouflage becomes who we are, to the point that we can no longer see what we are really like. 

Well, you can get away with it for a while, but sooner than later you will be exposed. I heard a story about a High School band that may or may not actually be true, but it helps illustrate the point. Just a few days before the Spring Concert, the director became sick and a substitute was brought in. Being new, he didn’t know the students.

On the day of the concert, one of the trombone players approached his friend, and asked, “Hey Joe, fill in for me on the trombone at the concert. I’ve got a big date that night.”

The friend protested, “What? I can’t play the trombone. I’ve never touched one in my life.”

“That’s no problem, Just watch the other trombone players. Do what they do. Nobody will ever know.”

So Joe reluctantly agreed.

The night of the concert came, and Joe put on his friend’s band uniform and carried the trombone to the stage with the other trombonists and band members. He carefully watched the others, and picked up his instrument when they picked up theirs. When the other trombonists seemed to extend their slides, Joe extended his. He began to relax – he was getting away with it.

But to his horror, he noticed that later in the program there was a piece of music that called for all four trombones to play a brief trombone quartet.

When that part came, the substitute director pointed his baton toward them. Joe rose with the other trombonists. Looking out of the corner of his eye, he raised his instruments to his lips simultaneously with the others. All four took a breath and with a united motion pulled their sliding trombones in a gesture that indicated proud harmony.

But not a sound came forth. It turned out that all four were filling in for friends who were trombonists. They were all pretending and not one of them knew how to play.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us: “…the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

We don’t have to pretend with God. He already knows us inside and out, and loves us anyway. As the following verses in Hebrews 4 go on to say:  “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

That’s why Jesus came – to put us into a right relationship with God and each other.

We can’t hide anything from God, and we don’t need to. He knows our problems and he’s on our side. When he saved us he knew exactly what he was doing.

I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.

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