Farmville Enterprise June 28, 2017
Most of us have a deep-seated desire to be understood. A common complaint amongst teenagers and even some adults is that no one understands them. We want at least a good number of significant others genuinely to perceive what makes us tick and what makes us unique. We would like them to understand who we really are and why we do the things we do- our personalities, likes and dislikes plus our core convictions. Ultimately, we wish to be accepted and loved for, or in spite of, these things. Ironically, there is often a tension here. Part of us would prefer to hide our inconsistencies, vulnerabilities and ways in which we fall short. We realize that there are parts of our lives that are too messy and flawed. It would be embarrassing for the outside world to know of our selfishness, pride, hypocrisies and true feelings. Even from God we wish we could conceal our bad choices. The thought of a God who knows us so intimately can be a scary thing.
Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7) At the end of the often quoted love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes about what we have to look forward to in the end when perfection comes. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) We are intimately and fully known by God right now. In fact, he is the only one who can know us completely yet he loves us unconditionally, despite our failings. Some day we will know fully.
God created us to live in community and relationship with others. Our desire to be understood by family members and friends is natural. To me, it matters little what people who don’t really know me think about my temperament or actions compared to what my loved ones think. There is an element of peace and trust living in a household where its members value truth and authenticity. Although it feels good to know that my husband and children “get” and accept me, it is much more important that they realize they are known and accepted by God.
In The Meaning of Marriage Tim Keller writes, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
To know and be known by our family and friends is reassuring, but to know the relentless love and grace of God and accept his intimate knowledge of us is even better.
The Apostle Paul prays this. “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1: 17-19)