We drive a really old car by most folks standards. A 1991 Ford Taurus station wagon. The paint is blistering in spots and worn off in others. It really doesn't look so great, but mechanically it is sound as can be. I would feel safe hopping in that car tonight and driving across country. Emery has maintained that car beautifully, except it looks like it has a touch of leprosy on the outside. The outside doesn't reflect the running aspect of the car. If I was to purchase this car by its looks, I would get so much more than what it appears. It is gem hidden in poor wrapping. It doesn't portray a better outside than inside ! On the flip side, there is a car I know of that is beautiful, polished, spotless, expensive looking, but the insides are old, ready to give way, the car has needed major repairs one right after another. It is costing a fortune to try and make the inside match the outside and now its over, the inside is beyond repair. Which of the two cars would you rather be seen in ? Which of the two cars would you want to travel in and trust your child to be in ? You see...we can be that same way. Look like one thing on the outside, speak or write about what we want people to think, when in reality it may not be who we really are. I would rather match up, inside and outside. Be real, so that there are no surprises. Not always easy and more often than not, its our insides that need the repair work. At 53, I have no desire to "pretend" to be something I am not. I think my children would say I am just what I say I am, that our home is just as I say it is, that my marriage is as good as I say it is, but when I was 30 ish, I suspect the "outside" was a bit more gilded than reality. I was not always as patient with the children at home as I was when we were out. I yelled sometimes at home, but I never wanted people to know that I raised my voice or grew impatient. I have always tried to be honest about how I am spiritually and that has often cost me as its not popular to be open about such things. But the cost of honesty wins you the most loyal friends ! In my searching I have found many very "conditional" acquaintances for which I am better off not having as friends. I think the biggest turn off about Christians is that we pretend too much. We want to appear perfect and shiny and often talk about our prayer life, our modesty, our home life as perfect etc but in the home or in business we are something different. We might drive with rage, yell at some person in the store. I certainly am far from perfect and am the first one to share that fact. Rather be open about my struggles. I remember seeing a priest with his collar on at a local Jack in the Box. His order was wrong. He got a small french fry in place of the large he had ordered. He screamed at the young girl waiting on him, screamed, not yelled. Everyone in the place stared at him. He slammed down his food, got in his truck and tore out of the parking lot at a very high speed. Sure he is human we know that, but it was shocking none the less to see how different his inside (anger)was from what his outside (clerical collar) spoke about his life. It would have been so much better if he was gentle and kind with no collar on or if the outside matched the inside.
In the past year I have heard story after story of what appeared on the outside to be fine Christian homes when in reality the father was a monster abusing his children and wife. Don't change the outside if it looks good, but change the inside so that what appears to be loving and kind is what it is. Live a life that you never fear being exposed. Know that your children, young or old do not know a life story different from the one you want people to know.