Are you familiar with the term ‘greenwash’? I wasn’t until a few years ago. It’s a term that is used to describe the efforts of larger industries and corporations to present their products as environmentally sensitive, even when they may be anything but eco-friendly. Have you noticed, for example, how virtually every detergent you buy in the store is labeled ‘eco-friendly?’ How foodstuff is packaged as ‘farm-fresh?’ How packaging is made from, or is, recyclable? Of course, such claims may not be groundless, many firms have done much to clean up their act, but green labels and marketing have become useful promotional tools in the hands of the less scrupulous.
It is not just faceless corporations that dress things up; we all do it. We each have a public face we wear for the world to see and we seek to present ourselves in the most flattering light possible, putting the best gloss possible on those less-desirable aspects of our character. It’s understandable to the point that we should, and do get away with it when dealing with people – but not with God. Dr. Luke in his gospel records these words of Jesus as he spoke a parable to the crowd. “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.” (Luke 8:16-17)
It is useless being anything other than honest with God, for God knows our thoughts and our heart, the attitudes, and motives that lie behind our words and actions. We may think we are being straight with God, but are we? The image we have of ourselves is one thing; what God sees may be quite another.
During this period of Lent, when we think more deeply about our relationship with God, you might ask yourself; in what ways do you put on a mask for the world, for those with who you work, even with those who you love? Are you sometimes less than honest with God? Paul, writing to the Church in Corinth, had this to say about living the Christian life: “We have renounced shameful things that we prefer to keep hidden, no longer walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but through the genuineness of our actions, commending ourselves to people’s conscience before God. Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, for he will both bring light to the hidden things of darkness and expose the thoughts of the heart: and then God will give praise to each one as appropriate.” (2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Cor. 4:5)
Perhaps this can be your prayer this week? Gracious God, help me to face the flaws everyone knows of and those I try to hide even from myself, knowing that your nature is always to have mercy and to help me start again. Take me and make me new, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
Shalom to you my friend,