I remembered something a few weeks ago that immediately flooded my soul with embarassment. The embarassment wasn’t as bad as the time I almost decapitated myself on a bathroom stall coat-hook, but it was close. My sub-concious mind apparently decided several years ago that I couldn’t handle this terrible memory and as a coping mechanism decided to lock it away in a closet where other bad memories are kept against their will. Sadly, my brain has had it’s fair share of glitches (like the time I cuddled up to my wife and whispered sweet nothings into her ear using an ex-girlfriend’s name) so I am not surprised when it fails to keep bad thoughts at bay.
I was walking with my wife (who thankfully didn’t give up on me after the wrong-name incident) and let out a just-been-punched-in-the-groin grunt when the memory broke free from its make-shift dungeon. She looked at me with caring eyes and asked me what was wrong. I gave her the ususal guy answer of “nothing.” Undeterred, she asked again, somehow making her eyes rounder and more sparkling than normal. Those tender, doe-eyes compelled me to tell her my memory that had not seen the light of day for many years. So I told her…and she laughed. Loudly, displaying a cold heart to go along with those soft eyes.
I used to wear make-up.
In my mind, a male wearing make-up is like putting mayonnaise in mashed potatoes—just plain wrong. And yes, there are people who commit the sacrilege of ruining mashed potatoes in this unspeakable manner. They are called my in-laws, and sometimes they are strange. I confess that I often do strange things as well, like learn how to say the books of the Bible backwards for fun (one Testament down, one to go). But I would never think of putting mayonnaise in one of the most perfect foods on Earth. If I ever do, please lock me away.
I did, though, used to wear make-up. In my defense, it wasn’t entirely my fault. I was fooled into thinking it was normal. My older brother did it and my mother encouraged it. Those zits just had to be covered.
I, like many other teenagers, was plagued with acne. I didn’t have it too badly, but it was still there. I did the normal things like use cleansing cream and I washed my face regularly. I’m sure that doing these things helped some, but the pimples always seemed to pop up most agressively at the worst possible moments. Right before a family photo-shoot, for instance. When those times hit, I couldn’t just remove the zits without leaving bloody sores all over my face.
So, I used concealer to cover my blemishes. Make fun if you must, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. I wanted to look better. I didn’t want anyone to notice my flaws. I wanted my face to be clean and clear.
There was only one problem: it didn’t really help much. I still knew that the zits were there. No amount of make-up could erase from my mind this knowledge. It still felt like people were looking at me, only instead of seeing pimples they were seeing a pathetic attempt to cover up the pimples. My face wasn’t clean and clear; it had flaws that couldn’t be fully concealed.
I bet that you have done the same thing with something far more serious. I know that I have. It’s because our flaws do not stay hidden; our sins are often easily seen. When the flaws come to the surface, we try to conceal them. Sometimes we do this by comparing our flaws to others; at least we’re not as bad as the other guy. On occassion we shrug our shoulders and excuse our behavior by declaring that we are a work in progress. Sometimes we try to hide our flaws altogether and we are successful, for a time.
But the flaws are still there. Our sins aren’t easy to conceal. The blemishes are real and so is the pain that they cause.
Want another reason to be thankful for Jesus? He covers the ugliness of those who surrender to Him with His infinite beauty. He trades our sinfulness for His righteousness. Instead of seeing the blemishes of guilt on those who are redeemed, God sees the purity of His only begotten Son. Because of salvation, my sins are not just concealed—they have been completely washed away.
My favorite verse from my favorite song says it beautifully:
My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Maybe you are still carrying your sins around, trying to cover them up and failing. Maybe you are being convicted of your lifestyle by God right now. If so, repent and surrender your life to Jesus.
Your sins will be more than concealed; they will be washed away.