This question appeared on Twitter last week:
Who’s the one man you would bet your life on not having a horrible secret that will make you wish you’d never admired him? (Dan Kois.)
All I can tell you is I wouldn’t make it onto my own list.
Disillusionment comes easy. It’s understandable considering all the crimes and scandals that are coming out about religious leaders, entertainers and educators. And it’s not just men. Women who have risen to prominence can disappoint when secrets come out.
Think of what an illusionist does. They make you think one thing is happening and then surprise you by showing you what’s really going on. A good illusionist makes the audience think the person is being sawed in half and then put back together again. You know it’s not true, but you allow yourself to suspend reality because that’s the way it looks and you don’t know how the trick is accomplished.
If you’d like to see how the trick is accomplished, there are plenty of videos online that explain the workings of the illusions. If you don’t mind being disillusioned, here’s a card trick and how to pull it off. I tend to like suspending belief for these illusions, though, so I don’t go looking for the methods behind the trick.
Giving away the trick gives away the fun.
When it comes to people’s lives, I tend the other way. Take me, for example. I’d rather not have any illusions about myself, and I don’t want people to build me up to someone I’m not and then get disappointed when they find out the illusion isn’t reality.
Like everyone else, I’ve got feet of clay (a scriptural word picture taken from Daniel 2:41-43). I know it, and I hope everyone else at least assumes it. I don’t want there to be any surprises when someone finds out I’m not all that and a bag of chips (a not so scriptural word picture, but still handy as defined by wiktionary).
This means living authentically, something I’m not all that good at. I try to start with how I view myself, though, and see where that goes. This is what the Bible is getting at when it says:
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3.)
There are two components in that verse. One is how I understand myself, and the other is how I am equipped by God. Sober judgment means that I am actually examining myself and doing it without puffing myself up or putting myself down. Faith from God means that he has decided already that I am worth his time.
That’s good news; this verse tells me that it’s time for me to recognize that my standing in life is based on what he has done for me, as opposed to anything I’ve tried to accomplish for myself.
Am I all that and a bag of chips? No, and no one on earth knows that better than I do.
Do I have feet of clay? Count on it. So do you.
We all stumble in many ways. (James 3:2.)
Yet I still hope to honor God and encourage people, as it says on the top of this blog page, and by the grace of God I will.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13.)
That’s no illusion.
Slim Gaillard really gets how much I love potato chips: