Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Brutal Honesty

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Moments of brutal honesty about ourselves are rare. We go to great lengths trying to present ourselves in the best light possible. We either deny our failures or apologise for them:- 
“That wasn't the real me.”
“That was a weak moment when I messed up.”
“My inner demons won that time, but that's really not who I am."

The world was shocked when the news broke that Philip Seymour Hoffman died at 46.  Every major North American media outlet immediately elevated the breaking story to headline status. The winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor had died in his apartment. In less than twenty five years Philip Seymour Hoffman had appeared in more than fifty films, winning multiple awards and numerous nominations. As the sad news broke, accolades and words of praise for this most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation, flooded social media and news channels.

Those who knew him were well aware of his struggles with drugs and alcohol. Although he battled addictions for years, he managed to stay clean for twenty years, but on 2 February 2014 the world became painfully aware that he had succumbed to chemicals once again.  
Just two weeks before his death, Washington Life publisher John Arundel met him at a  Film Festival in Utah. The publisher did not recognise the dishevelled actor so he asked him what he did for a living. Philip Seymour Hoffman said: "I'm a heroin addict." Full stop. Such honesty! No mention of his awards or his stellar acting career. No mention of his popularity. Just: "I'm a heroin addict."  

It is never easy to be 100% honest about who we are. That is why it is surely a rare occasion when we are honest with ourselves and with others. One of the most difficult things for any of us to do is to be honest about ourselves before the One and Only Holy God. We live with our 'inner' sins: our envy, our suppressed anger, our lusts, ours lies, etc. Those closest to us see some of our 'outer' failures; acquaintances may know only a few of them and others may not be aware of any of them.

The most difficult thing for any of us to do is to admit, both to ourselves and to God, the truth about who we are. It is hard to say: "I'm a sinner," and leave it there. When we do admit that we are sinners, so often we add a qualifying statement such as: ".just like everyone else."  The late Philip Seymour Hoffman ended his sentence with a full stop. He did not talk about other addicts or mask his stark reality. 

Spiritually, we will get nowhere with a Holy God, if we cannot be honest about who we are. He knows who we are but He requires honesty from our hearts. That moment of truth with God is called 'repentance'. Once we face our spiritual reality, God will respond. God rescues sinners.  God hears honest sinners who are ready to abandon their life of sin and cry out to Him, from their hearts, for salvation. 

Three times in the Bible this statement of fact is made: "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  God delights to save sinners. God specialises in transforming the lives of sinners and equips them with eternal life to enjoy now and forever. This wonderful life is found only through faith in Jesus Christ, God's Son.



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