It is better to be than to seem to be
The wintertime heavy dumps of snow brighten and soften Chicago muting the city’s noise under its fluffy blanket. One can only wonder at the neighbourhood’s transformation.
Snowploughs soon clear and salt the roads, people ‘tog up’ and in no time life resumes as citizens drive to work and kids tramp to school. After a few days the snow piles freeze, crust over and start to lose their sparkle, soon becoming grubby with the city’s pollution, litter sticks, and discoloured patches appear as passing dogs salute the snow.
Soon another layer of snow redeems the scene with its pristine veneer of sparkling white, and so the cycle revolves again, and again. After a few weeks one can only wonder at the sort of mess that will be revealed by the thaw – not a pretty sight!
So often ugly habits form in our lives, unhelpful attitudes grow, injustices and actions take place that spoil beautiful lives and relationships, but we cover them over with excuses. Everything looks good but below the surface what is hidden?
Christ challenged religious leaders for being like cups, clean on the outside but dirty inside - hypocrites who present well but hide corruption (Matthew 23:27)
We can take ourselves and the image we seek to present far too seriously. Momus, the heathen god of ridicule, complained that Jupiter had not made a window in the human breast, so rendering him unable to see what was happening inside. To an omniscient God no window is needed, every thought, wish, and intention is perfectly discerned.
We understandably seek to present ourselves to the world as appealing as possible, but we must not kid ourselves and cannot kid God. The psalmist (Ps 90 v 6) reminds us that God lays out our sins before Him – and He sees them all. Our challenge is that when our lives are spoiled, damaged, and discoloured by the pressures of life and our own hardwired sinfulness, rather than whitewashing, we keep our accounts short by seeking forgiveness from our neighbours and God who sees what is going on inside and is more than willing to rewire us anew!
My secondary school motto ‘’Esse quam videri’ translates as ‘It is better to be than to seem’ (to be)
We can strive today to seek with Gods help to be what He calls us to be, rather than allow ourselves to be shaped into the mould that we feel will present best to those around us. As our loving father sees inside us and understands that we are dust, He wants us to allow Him to shape us to be the person he designed us to be – to live free and transparent lives.