Have you seen the recent YouTube video of the little boy who was lying about eating a cupcake? Here is this totally adorable toddler with bright, blue icing all around his mouth. When his dad asks if he’s had a cupcake, without the slightest pause, he says NO…repeatedly. Oh my, he is precious. The fact that he is lying with blue icing all over his mouth – screaming his guilt – makes him even cuter. It makes us chuckle. It’s cute. And those of us with kids could all tell similar stories.
Sometimes the antics of children can be, well, cute. But we grow. And we grow up. And we come to see what once was adorable for a child no longer is. Yep. This includes lying.
Lying is nothing new. The Garden of Eden, heard of it? Adam and Eve? Yep, the very first recorded sin involved lying. And lying is bad. I know. Mind-blowing news – right? Yet regularly we hear of individuals caught in less than truthful moments: politicians, news broadcasters, sports figures, pastors, coaches, doctors. Each story has its unique circumstances, each with it’s unique failure. Yet underneath it all, they share one obvious question…
If we know it isn’t true, what drives the need to be dishonest? Why do we feel the need to exaggerate the truth or make people think we’ve accomplished something we haven’t? Why give the impression that we are something we really are not?
We wear masks. We try to hide the real us. We try to gain acceptance from those around us by being what we think they would want us to be, or say what we think they want us to say…whoever they is. We don’t want to disappoint. We don’t want to feel rejected. So we stretch the truth. We lie.
And we become the little boy with blue icing on his face.
But there’s a better way.
I Corinthians 13 teaches us that love “rejoices in the truth”. Stop. Think about how big this is: this is the section of the Bible commonly referred to as the “love chapter”. We’re told that true “God-type” love (agape in the Greek) is a love that is benevolent, willfully delights and finds joy in the one being loved. It’s the ultimate love, one of deep, unconditional commitment. A love that doesn’t just endure what’s true, or look past what’s true, it rejoices in what’s true. It recognizes that as a follower of Jesus, your true identity is not found in your wins and losses, or your feelings and circumstances. Your true identity is found in Jesus Christ! And your true identity doesn’t require a mask.
True love, God’s love, rejoices in the truth! The truth that…
…you are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)
…you are His workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV)
…you are established. (2 Corinthians 1:21 NKJV)
…you are sealed with His promise. (John 6:27 NKJV)
…you are redeemed. (Colossians 1:14 NIV)
Could it be…that part of why God rejoices in the truth of our messiness and ugliness and brokenness is because the truth of our messiness and ugliness and brokenness gives Him the joy of demonstrating his indescribable, unrestrained, un-earnable love?
Yep! The blue icing is all over your face, and mine. Throw your hands up to a Father who loves you! He knows and rejoices in the truth: your identity is so much greater than the frosting on your face.
And know this: when we embrace and live in and rejoice in that truth, we’re able to love others the way we are loved. We’re able to rejoice in the truth of their identity as well. And it’s so much greater than the frosting on their face.
“Aren’t you glad that God’s acceptance isn’t based on our performance? We have nothing to prove. Cancel the audition.” – Pastor Steven Furtick, Elevation Church