Thoughts on Being Found Out

Full disclosure of ourselves to another person seldom happens in life–if ever. Full disclosure before a stranger is even less likely, though at times we may actually come closer tot the real thing with a stranger because the implied anonymity makes it feel safe. Imagine the Samaritan woman’s experience of speaking with Jesus (John 4), the latter portions of which are below:

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

On the Eleventh Day of Lent, the phrase for reflection is what this unnamed woman reported to her friends and fellow villagers: “He told me everything that I ever did.” While we can only speculate as to the length of the conversation between this woman and Jesus beyond what is recorded, it seems likely that on one hand, it consisted of more than what John reports, and on the other that it could not have been inclusive of literally everything. But what we do know is that the woman felt as though this mysteriously wonderful man had put his finger on on what was the core of her self understanding. It must have felt as though nothing remained hidden. And the resulting feeling was one of previously unimagined freedom.

I have little doubt that a majority of people tremble at the thought of having their inner core of thinking being exposed to anyone. It’s frightening because was we are certain that if anyone knew who we “really” are, no one would accept us. Some people go to great lengths to cast an image of themselves that is different from the inner reality, calling attention to what they do in order to divert it from what they are. Nothing new or provocative in that statement–yet the oddity is that even while carefully guarding the image, there is an internal longing to disclose the real person to someone, but only someone who will not be aghast at what is disclosed, and accept us in spite of the truth.

My hunch is that this is just what the Samaritan woman found in Jesus. While her external life history was undoubtedly known among her neighbors, she found someone who knew it and was not of a mind to scoff, snicker, or devalue. Today’s thought is twofold. First, we do have the same access to one who can indeed tell us everything we ever did and accept us anyway–but only because of who he is and what he has done about our condition. The second tought is that we learn to adopt the ways of this Jesus in our approach to other people. It’s so easy to dismiss; it’s difficult to accept those in the turmoil of self-protective anxiety.

Thanks to those who have shared thoughts on how to pray in this series; continue to do so. But also feel free to comment on the post itself.

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Being Found Out

  1. I love this post and the account of the Samaritan woman. I’ve hidden from myself and others for a long time, and from God too. But when God moved me to this rattletrap of a house, and I had to look at brokenness day after day, I knew it was time to stop hiding. When I saw paneling covering holes in the walls and carpeting covering up unstable floors, I realized hiding is only a temporary and miserable solution. Drywalling and refinishing is hard and expensive, but it has a beauty and integrity that lasts. As I work at tearing out and pray through how to rebuild, God has done an amazing work of rebuilding within me. I would encourage all your readers to face that which they are hiding from, asking God to be their companion and strength in the process. Because when we are set free, we set out looking for people to love and rebuild. I know I am eager to tell others what God has done for me because I am so grateful.

    • Janet, I love your representation of the house! Not only is rebuilding hard and expensive, but it takes time and energy and a willingness to see the change through to the end.

      I’ve gone through a “Found Out” moment recently and am still rebuilding after 6 months. If not for people who exuded a Christ-like attitude towards me, I don’t know where I would be today.

  2. “It’s frightening because was we are certain that if anyone knew who we “really” are, no one would accept us. …yet the oddity is that even while carefully guarding the image, there is an internal longing to disclose the real person to someone, but only someone who will not be aghast at what is disclosed, and accept us in spite of the truth.”

    Ken, I can’t believe how accurately you hit the nail on the head with these words. I’ve had my own little experience with this in my now-former church recently, and I’m just beginning to heal from the intense pain the experience caused. I had to face what felt like a firing squad because one of the pastors felt that some of the questions I was asking were inappropriate and unhealthy to those I was potentially ministering to.

    When my husband and I decided we could no longer stay in that church, suddenly the leadership wondered why we would be willing to leave. I told the pastor much of what you expressed here: that in the 10 years I was in that church I never felt accepted for who I was. I knew what kinds of people were upheld as righteous, good examples, godly people, etc., and despite my best efforts to fit in, I knew I didn’t. I felt as though people looked at me “aghast” because of certain aspects of my testimony, so much so that I wished I had never shared those things. I know there are more important spiritual issues than “feeling accepted,” but for me the lack of that acceptance truly began to affect my relationship with God and my ability to accept even His love and acceptance, if that makes sense.

    I’m in the process of healing and of finding a place where I can be accepted and fit in despite my questions and my faults and failures. Thank the Lord that there already is someone who knows all of me and loves and accepts me anyway.

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