What would you do if Jesus, the King, knocked on your door and took off his cloak, wrapped a towel around his waste and said he was going to wash your feet? I imagine it and it makes me cringe. We all want to portray ourselves so perfectly. We tidy up our house before guests arrive…sometimes even before the cleaning lady comes over. We present our best selves. We don’t want people to see our flaws and so many times we pretend we don’t have them.
“When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
“No,” Peter protested, “You will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” John 13:6-9
So here Jesus is…the Son of God, the Almighty King, humbling himself and saying “let me know your vulnerable places. Those places you hide that you don’t want anyone to see.” We forget that He already sees them. He wants us to confess those things so we confess them to ourselves! We can be in such denial.
Unless we learn how to receive blessing from a very vulnerable place…exposing our ugliness and dirtiness to the Lord, we don’t belong to Him. It is only when we are able to confess…”I can’t be perfect. I have tried! Life is too hard. I can’t keep this facade up any longer! I’m tired and broken, here I am Lord! All of me!”
When we confess who we really are to the Lord, we confess who we really are to ourselves as well. We get to know that true love God has for us by seeing and loving ourselves as He sees us. Unconditionally.
Yesterday I worked at the rehab center. One of the residents said, “I never allow myself to make mistakes”. I then told him that we are all flawed. If we don’t allow ourselves to have flaws, we won’t allow others to have flaws either. However we feel about ourselves, we end up projecting onto someone else. The very thing we hate about ourselves is the very thing we hate about someone else. When we can give ourselves grace, we can give others grace as well. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a statement of fact. We love our neighbor in accordance with how we love ourselves.
I told the grown men a story of Pinnochio. I told them Pinnochio was a fake boy and he tried to be perfect. The more he lied to cover up his true self, the more his nose would grow. It wasn’t until he went through a very rough storm, did he realize he needed help and he had to come to the realization he wasn’t real. It was at this time of admitting who he really is that he became a real boy, an authentic boy. In his vulnerability, he realized his true self and knowing that, he started knowing how to be real.
How many times do we think God doesn’t see our ugly feet? We are so delusional to think that he doesn’t see our dark, imperfect side. That side that is something we don’t want to face ourselves. It’s only when we come to the foot of the cross and die to self that we get baptized in the Holy Spirit. If we are so full of ourselves, God has no room for His power within us. We must admit who we really are. We are all broken before the Lord. We just don’t want to admit it. Facing the truth instead of avoiding it is what makes us authentic and approachable. Sharing our flaws with others who down deep they know they are flawed too. People don’t want perfect. They want real…and real isn’t perfect.
The broken can be beautiful. A mosaic or a stained-glass window is so much more beautiful than the original plain pane of glass. Looking through the different shaped and colored pieces, it represents all the events, moods and feelings we have experienced in our lives. All the stories we can tell others. Stories of falling down and not feeling like you can get up. Stories of being so sad, you just curl up in a ball and cry for hours. These fragmented pieces of colored glass put together with precious times of joy with friends and family, make for a beautiful window into the soul. The pieces held together by the solder of relationships, faith, God, and hope.
If the broken glass pieces represent all the times we are broken, we must not choose to go through them alone. Going through the not-so-perfect times alone, we are just a broken piece of glass perceived as garbage to throw away or hide. If we seek out friendships and fellowship and support, they can share their stories of tragedy and triumph with us and together we put all those broken pieces together to make a beautiful mosaic. The cement being the tears we have shed together.
We all know down deep we aren’t perfect so it is refreshing when someone is strong enough to admit it. We are drawn to them. The world wants you to think that everyone wants perfect and flawless. So, everyone gets caught on this wrong road of trying to achieve the impossible. The more we realize we aren’t perfect, the more layers of make-up we try to cake on to hide the deep flaws we know we have. We know we are an imposter. We think that people won’t love us if they know the truth. We don’t realize that people long for the real truth anyway…even if it’s ugly.
I think about how my ex husband had such a facade. I wanted so much for him to just come clean. I put up with his constant lying and abuse for 12 years. I forgave and hoped and prayed and fasted hoping that if he just humbled himself and told me the truth, the ugly truth, we would have somewhere to go from there. It never happened that way. I found out the ugly truth about him from everyone except him.
At the time, I couldn’t understand why someone would repay good for evil. Why is it no amount of kindness, generosity or forgiveness was helping? It was actually causing him to treat me worse. It wasn’t until years after I escaped the insanity did I finally understand. He hates himself for being such a phony. He lied to me from the very beginning to get me to marry him. He never was who he said he was. Keeping up the facade was killing him. He knew, he received a good wife by deceiving her. He knew he didn’t deserve the gift. He got it by dishonest means.
Therefore, every time I was showing my authentic love and care as a wife, it reminded him of his own double-life and unworthiness. He dealt with it by making me the scapegoat. If he could put all the blame on me, make me out to be the crazy one, then he wouldn’t have to face the ugly truth of his deceptive lies. His conscience is seared. He feels nothing because if he actually faced the truth about what he has done, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.
The result being a boy made out of wood. He chooses to believe a lie instead. That it must be all his wife’s fault. He doesn’t feel anything but rage. Rage he puts on his wife but the rage he feels is rage against himself for digging himself in such a deceptive hole where there is no way out. He would rather sacrifice the only one that really loves him to make himself look like the innocent one. That’s his punishment to himself. Self-sabotage.
So, he ends up losing everything that was really important. He might have walked away with money….but he sacrificed true love for it. He knew I was a forgiving person as he had seen me forgive my father for constant abuse all of my life and give him chance after chance and wipe the slate clean every time. He saw how I became the sacrifice for my father’s constant sinning. He saw how I was willing to do that for love. He knew I would do that for him as well. He took advantage of me.
I almost sacrificed my life for them. Their conscience seared, they walk away without guilt or remorse whether I end up dead or alive. Dead to them is better because dead men and dead women tell no tales. If I’m dead, his secrets could stay in the dark. If the only person who knows the real truth besides him has been silenced, he can go on living his life as Pinnochio to those who don’t know who he really is. The only problem is, he knows. He just doesn’t want to face himself.
I tried for 12 years to get him to open up to me. To tell me who he really was. I had told him everything. All the ugly stuff about my abuse and the bad choices I made and instead of returning that vulnerability so we could finally have an intimate marriage, he used every painful thing I divulged to him, as a weapon to destroy me and my character and eventually the love I had for him.
Recently, I sat in a Bible study where a woman divulged the painful abuse of her now deceased husband. After over 30 years of him covering up his double-life by abusing those that loved him the most, he came to the end of himself. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The secrets eating him up inside, he confessed to his wife that he had lived a secret gay life their whole marriage. His confession was met with grace and forgiveness and mercy. The family coming around and responding with kindness and taking care of him in his last days. It was because his confession and repentance were true and authentic. He had to finally die to self.
I have a huge capacity for forgiveness. I have had to forgive heinous things and repeatedly given people chances over and over after learning their “sorry” was just a way of manipulating me to do what they wanted again. The repentance was not real because their behavior didn’t change. It actually was worse. My allowing them back into my life so quickly, just caused them to know they could lie and deceive me more. It made them disrespect me. Besides, how can they allow someone to love them when they actually detest themselves?
Therefore, I think things would have been so different if my husband finally came to me and in true repentance admitted what he had done. When someone just gives a “sorry if I hurt you” but they aren’t truly specific about what they did to hurt you, they don’t feel it. They don’t understand and they aren’t really sorry. They are just sorry you aren’t there anymore to meet their needs. The tears are only for them, not for you.
In the past, when someone said they were sorry, I took them at their word despite decades of not realizing I was trusting them repeatedly for them continuing in the same things. If someone was truly sorry, they would stop the behavior. Repentance in Hebrew means to see things from another perspective. If we are truly sorry, we are able to see things from the perspective of the person we hurt..not just our selfish perspective. It would cause us to never want to do that again. I realized I falsely put forgiveness and trust together. I now know that I can forgive someone fully, but I don’t have to trust them ever again. Trust is earned. If someone is truly sorry, they will prove over a long period of time through actions that they are different. Truly repentant people want to make restitution. They will do anything and everything to pay for what they have done through showing through their actions that they have changed and they will wait as long as necessary. Love is patient. If they truly love you, they will be patient and wait without a response while they prove to you they are a different person.
I never waited for them to earn that trust again. Just like I forgave right away, I trusted them right away as well. Big mistake. Forgiveness is for me, not them but I ended up being the one who suffered for continuing to trust an untrustworthy person. They remained unscathed, unfeeling only to continue hurting others for their own self-indulgent means.
A couple of years ago I came up with a quote after I had been horribly hurt and betrayed by someone only for them to act normal and not understand why I didn’t want to trust them anymore. “The lake is glassy for those who refuse to see the wake of destruction they have left behind”. So many people are so stuck on seeing their own perspective, that they don’t see how their selfishness has caused so much hurt for those around them.
The church’s response to woman living with an abusive or selfish husband is to “submit to him and if you keep doing that, he will eventually see Jesus in your eyes and change”. This, I tell you, does not work and it isn’t even Biblical!! This is the sin I was committing! I was submitting to someone who wasn’t worshipping God but worshipping a false God…himself. We must never submit to a husband worshipping a false god because we end up becoming the living sacrifice for their sin. They won’t see Jesus in our eyes. They will see us as coming between them and their false god!!
The Bible says, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24
We must come to the truth about a lot of things. Facing the truth isn’t pretty! It is painful!! Only by seeking the truth, the UGLY TRUTH will it finally set us free. Only by my husband finally facing the ugly truth of his deception and lies and me finally facing the ugly truth about covering up his lies with false hope and denial will bring true freedom. For it is the chains and slavery of living a lie that keeps us in bondage. Only by us dying to self are we able to come to a place of finding that life that fulfills us from the inside out. Only by humbling ourselves and letting Jesus wash our dirty feet, will we know that true love is unconditional and that is what the Father has for us. That unconditional love that people love us even though we are flawed, will turn the wooden, fake, lying boy into a real one.
Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Thriver and Survivor of domestic violence and abuse who went from an Artist at a top studio in the film industry only to escape danger and experience, trauma, homelessness and penniless. Restored and Healed by Jesus. These are my stories of suffering and triumph.