author Jim Mather, pastor
To love....and to be loved... There is no more fundamental and basic life need than the need for love. We were created, shaped and formed for love. There are many obstacles to achieving the love we so desperately need and crave. Humans have a deep need for connection in the 'soulish' realm. The soul is that part of us that involves our thoughts, our desires, our emotions and our sense of meaning/purpose. We want to share ourselves and connect to others who respect, admire and draw strength and even inspiration from a relationship with us. We are searching for 'soul mates' with whom we can share on a deeper level. We are hungry for true intimacy.
In the midst of seeking for a deeper connection with another person we often stumble over many land mines along the journey toward real intimacy. The ability to reveal ourselves and know others demands much. We need to be willing to lay aside masks and hypocrisy. Often we are too familiar with our own 'act' of personal hide and seek. Today, I would like to talk about one key to finding satisfaction in life's relationships. That key is transparency.
Transparency can be defined as, "the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance.... so that bodies situated beyond it or behind it can be seen.
As a personal quality, transparency involves the ability to let others see who we really are.Transparency demands deliverance from insecurity. A transparent soul is so over play acting and deception that 'what you see is what you get' is an every day reality in their relationships. A transparent person breathes trust into every personal interaction. There is no guile, no masks, no uncertainties or verbal jousting.
How can we become more transparent in our lives? First of all we have to reject all the counterfeits of false intimacy. We are thrilled and enslaved with the guile and deception of lust and a sexuality stripped of commitment. But that sensual thrill has a huge price tag with a diminishing return. There is a beauty of the exterior that stripped of an internal lasting commitment never satisfies for long.
The transparent soul is unafraid to reveal the interior.... to share the real self....knowing that love differs from lust is one foundational reality: it's real. Lust is based on deceptions of 'enhancement', covering up the real with whatever trickery and falsehood that society demands.
When we play games trying to be someone we aren't, we ensure frustration and failure in achieving intimate relationships. Intimacy is achieved only when we let people see who we really are.... and choose to allow others to be who they really are. We are all flawed and imperfect people in need of acceptance and love. The ability to love others is rooted in the gospel of love that heals wounded and broken hearts. It's when we gaze into the mirror of God's word and find the message of his unconditional love that we are empowered to strip off falsehoods and masks. No one can truly be loved for who they really are until they let go of pretension, deception and cover ups. You are who you are.... and God says you are worthy to be loved....right now.....as you are. Conditional love can never achieve intimacy. When you hear the phrase, "I will love you if......" you are not receiving the God kind of love which is the womb of intimacy and secure love. The best lovers are always the best forgivers.And God forgives us in Christ right now, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
We are all sinners. We all falter and fail one another in relationship. The ability to forgive and to move forward in the midst of ongoing imperfection lays the ground work for deeper intimacy. Lust demands instant gratification. Intimacy requires patience and honesty.... and commitment.
Wearing masks and trying to hide from others who you really are is an act of sabotage against yourself. You are worthy of love right now....no matter your personality, physical appearance, IQ, job status or educational achievement. You were created by a perfect loving Father who proved his love for you by sending Jesus to heal you from the inside out. When you open yourself up to that reality you become freed from the bondage of 'working' to achieve love. You need to receive the God kind of love for what it is.... a magnificent, unfathomable gift of grace and blessing. You truly are loved perfectly and forever for who you are right now.... for real....forever. Welcome home.
Jim Mather and his wife Mary provide community and relationships to international students through their organization Friends of Internationals. Visit them to learn more. www.foimobile.org