Why Hiding the Bad Stuff Hurts More than Helps

I recently watched a video of a mother who packages healthy foods in junk food wrappers. It’s interesting to watch how her child responds to the food choices with the creative packaging.

It made me think about all the “repackaging” we do in our lives.

For example, before a recent interview, I tried to explain to one of my sons how to answer potential questions. I asked him to answer the question, “What is your greatest weakness?” He said, “I’m slow.” Given that his interview was with a busy fast-food chain, I didn’t think that was an appropriate answer.

I said, “You need to choose a weakness that is really a strength.”

My literal son was dumbfounded. “What? So, basically you want me to lie?”

Let’s just say, he can be honest to a fault.

Most of us, however, know the game. No matter what is on the inside, we know how to put on a good front for the world. We know how to “repackage” ourselves, our lives. We laugh at the Sunday morning commute jokes because we all have been there--fussing and fighting one minute and plastering on smiles the next.

It’s all a matter of repackaging.

The young mother tries to make the healthy stuff that is good for her child’s body look like the tasty stuff that appeals to his appetite. We try to hide our less-appealing attitudes, actions, and aspirations by appearing more calm, collected, and (dare I say) Christ-like.

However, outside of the occasional job interview, are we really doing anyone any favors by always appearing in control?

One of my favorite quotes is by Emily Colson. In her book, Dancing with Max, Emily writes "...perfect isn't approachable. It isn't even likable. A friend once told me that he wasn't comfortable talking to me when he thought my life looked perfect because his life was filled with cracks and flaws."  

As Christians, we sometimes think that if people know our faults, our testimonies might be ruined. We think no one will believe what we have to say about Jesus if they know we’re really a mess. I disagree.

I don’t know about the little boy drinking milk out of a juice box, but most people know we aren’t perfect; they just wonder if we know it. Therefore, all our repackaging does is alienate the very people we’re trying to reach.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not encouraging you to air your dirty laundry all over the internet. I am not encouraging you to be nasty and ugly just because that’s the way you are feeling. For Heaven’s sake, use your manners; be civil.

If we are Christians, our lives should reflect the fruits of the spirit so that we don’t have to constantly repackage ourselves to the world. Basically, what’s on the outside should match what’s on the inside most of the time.

But when we have those times of struggle, those times we mess up, those times we question, we shouldn’t try to cover them up or pretend that they don’t exist. We should be open, honest, and up-front. In doing so, we have the opportunity to demonstrate what it looks like to seek forgiveness, to make amends, to turn from our sin, to run from and then return to God. This is what the Christian life is--doing life together—being real with those who love us and those we love. In doing so, we can grow closer to one another and encourage each other to grow closer to Christ.