Seeing Me for Who I Really Am

Some people just aren’t who – or what – they are labeled. Take this young man, for instance: not a real judge (but he did end up in front of one soon enough!).

judge signOthers are misrepresented on purpose but for completely legal purposes, like models in ads on billboards, television and the internet. You do know that photographs of models – and movie stars too (poor Julia Roberts, getting her ad banned in England) – are airbrushed extensively before the advertisement ever gets published, right? Even the models themselves don’t look like the models you see in magazines.

Julia Roberts in the banned ad. Look at that flawless skin!

Julia Roberts in the banned ad. Look at that flawless skin!

If some Arizona lawmakers have their way, this type of lawful sleight of hand would be on its way out. Either show the models as they are, or tell everyone the photo’s a fake. I wonder what that would do to the fashion model industry.

Do any of us really want to see others as they truly are? Or perhaps more to the point, do I want others to see me as I truly am? I probably … no, I definitely do not. Not only is it a bit unnerving to think someone could learn things about me that I know are terrible, it’s not so hot for the person doing the observing either. Yet there is one person who knows me, and I’ve come to learn over the years that there’s no reason to regret it.

Many of us are familiar with Psalm 139 and the assurance that God knows every fiber of our being. That passage is comforting; it’s all about babies and being formed in our mothers’ wombs. (I wrote on that a while back.) I recently read something about David, though, that really opened my eyes to the fact that God not only knows us well, he knows the darkest corners of our lives really well.

King David was a murder, adulterer, conniver, schemer and liar. (2 Samuel 11-12.) He was also a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22.) How could that be? Was it because God didn’t know the true David? No, not if 1 Chronicles 17 is any indication.

David lived in a palace. That was all right with him, but he felt that it was inappropriate that he did so when he had not built a grand temple for the Ark of the Covenant, the seat of the holy God of Israel, to rest in. But Nathan the prophet delivered God’s message, that he had other plans for David:

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I … appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men on earth. …

“‘I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. … I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.’” (1 Chronicles 17:7-14.)

A lot of people who get news like this might wonder how it could be true, and hope that whoever made these promises wouldn’t reconsider. We think, “If they only knew what I was really like, they’d change their mind and give it to someone else.” That’s not what David thought, though. Instead, he told God:

“Who am I, LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, my God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You, LORD God, have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men. What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, LORD.” (1 Chronicles 17:16-19.)

And that’s what hit me like a blow to the head: For you know your servant, LORD.

Yes he did and yes he does. He knew all about David and he knows all about me. He even knows me better than I know myself. Yet he chose me and he loves me. And because I know he knows all about me, I don’t have to worry that his love for me is temporary or that it might be taken away the moment he discovers my darkest secrets. No, God chose me in spite of my sinfulness, in spite of my darkness. He really loves me.

I am so glad God knows his servant.


He loves me


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13 Responses to Seeing Me for Who I Really Am

  1. Jeannie says:

    That’s so true, Tim — thanks for this encouraging reminder. You talked about songs yesterday, and reading today’s post made me think of two. One of them (my son’s #1 hit) says:
    “He knows my name, He knows my every thought
    He sees each tear that falls and hears me when I call.”
    And the other says:
    “Oh Lord, You’ve searched me – You know my way
    Even when I fail You, I know You love me.
    Your holy presence surrounding me, in every season, I know You love me.”
    When we first started doing these songs at church it took me a while to realize that they were actually 2 different songs; I kept thinking they were all one song. And in a way they are: God is always just singing us the same song of Love.

  2. Aimee Byrd says:

    Amen. And with the above references to models, what message are we sending to our girls about beauty?

    • Tim says:

      Agreed, Aimee. That’s a whole ‘nother post, and I think you’re just the person to write it!

      • Mary Anne says:

        I was thinking of this very thing not long ago when I noticed a magazine ad for mascara that will supposedly give you tremendously long eyelashes. But down there in the fine print it reads “model styled with lash extensions” or words to that effect. So—this wonder mascara still needs a boost from false eyelashes.

        Or in this same women’s magazine, supposedly concerned with health and beauty and style—a cigarette ad. Yeah, that’ll make you fit and gorgeous, all right. *sigh* The world is full of trap doors for our young girls. I’m not even a parent, and I feel it. May God aid every parent out there in wading through all this . . .

  3. “Do any of us really want to see others as they truly are? Or perhaps more to the point, do I want others to see me as I truly am?”

    I had to face these questions big time when I was living in community. It made me realize that as much as we talk about loving each other in the church body, a lot of the “loving” that we do is on a surface level. “I’ll love you in a way that makes me comfortable, as long as you don’t go over any boundaries,” is really more accurate. Living in community exposed my “ugly” side to everyone else in the house. I also saw their ugly sides, and saw what happened when these sides collided. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but it made me see that we don’t usually love people this way in the church. Even though we had many difficult times and stern discussions with each other, I still loved them and left the house loving them deeper. They also helped me learn what it means to love people, knowing their warts and all — and them knowing mine. It was seriously like being married to an entire new family, and it was completely eye opening.

    • Tim says:

      When ugly sides collide – you should write a post on the issue, Rachel. It would be awesome, I’m sure. Not heavy on details of course, but more on who God works through that kind of ugly loving. In fact, I’d be stoked if you did it as a guest piece here. What say?

  4. Just noticed the new tabs. Spiffy!

  5. Srirup Chatterjee says:

    The mirror of ERISED?

    • Tim says:

      Wouldn’t that mean the title of this post should be “Seeing Me For Who I Wish I Were”?

      And if I were a character from Harry Potter, I’d much rather be Hermione or Hagrid!

      • Srirup Chatterjee says:

        I think I was reminded more of Dumbledore’s comment that the happiest person would see himself in the mirror exactly as he was.

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