Ragamuffins are Rigorously Honest with Themselves, Others, and God

truthContinued from here.

I’m continuing a discussion of the concept of the sinner with the tilted halo from Brennan Manning’s book, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out:

The saved sinner with the tilted halo has been converted from mistrust to trust, has arrived at an inner poverty of spirit, and lives as best he or she can in rigorous honesty with self, others, and God.

Being honest with oneself about oneself is one of the most difficult, and yet one of the most freeing, things you can ever do. Manning points out that people who are rigorously honest with themselves, others, and God are nearly impossible to offend because they are already acutely aware of their shortcomings.

For example, if you point out that I am not hospitable or thoughtful, I won’t be offended – I’ll actually agree with you! While I have grown much in both areas, they remain shortcomings of mine, which I don’t deny. I know in the marrow of my bones that God deeply loves me exactly as I am. He is well aware of my tendency toward selfishness and isn’t surprised or offended when I am thoughtless or inhospitable. He gently nudges me toward being more considerate while loving me even when I am not.

Our natural tendency is self-deception, making us easily offended when someone speaks truth to us. I lived this to the extreme. For example, I knew I was overweight because of my binge eating disorder, and I was deeply offended if anyone mentioned it. My being overweight was simply a fact, but I reacted as if someone had intentionally plunged a knife into me if they said anything that I could possibly twist into meaning, “You are fat.” My poor husband was sometimes the recipient of my wrath for simply inviting me to go on a walk around the neighborhood with him. I would hear, “You are fat,” when what he was really saying was, “I love you and would like to spend some time with you.”

I used to believe I had to be “perfect” to be loved. I now know that I am perfectly loved in my imperfection. That’s the heart of the ragamuffin’s authenticity.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace like the “X Files,” saying, “The truth is out there.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

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Importance of Authenticity

real_talkContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, I mentioned the Pharisees, who Jesus rebuked because of their hypocrisy. Interestingly, Jesus told people to do what the Pharisees said, just not what they did.

If you want to grow in your relationship with God, you need to be authentic. Stop worrying about what other people think about what you say or do. Instead, be your authentic self.

As I shared in my last blog entry, I used to be a people pleaser. I said and did the right things so people would like me, but I wasn’t authentic. God didn’t start healing me from all of my emotional wounds until I “got real.”

When God led me to the place of dealing with my childhood wounds, all pretense went out the door. I didn’t have the energy to pretend like I was OK. It took all of my energy just to get through the day!

I stopped pretending to be OK and was the “authentic me” for the first time in my life. It wasn’t pretty, but you know what? My church family didn’t reject me! I wrote down “emotional healing” as my only prayer request for four years in my weekly Bible study, and the only comments I received were of support and sadness that I continued to hurt after such a long period of time.

Now that God has healed my emotional wounds, I have a church full of people who can attest that I am not putting on a show in my joy and peace. They saw me at my worst, and they also saw how powerfully God transformed me, which has brought so much glory to God! Nobody who saw the real “broken me” has any illusions about my own ability to heal myself. Only a powerful God could have transformed that hot mess into someone who is joyful and peaceful.

Psalm 139 beautifully explains how fully God knows you. There’s no point in pretending because God knows who you really are. And here’s the best part! He loves you, even if you are a hot mess like I was.

Pretense is a waste of time. If you are ready to get serious about being Jesus’ disciple and truly want to experience Promised Land living, it’s time to get real. Stop pretending to be something you’re not. Be your authentic self. It’s requires less energy and is such a relief!

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sitting in a chair next to a plant below the words, “Real Talk.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]