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    Sunday School: What Does Your “Public Face” Look Like?

    Girlies, do you ever feel like you have to put on a perfect public persona whenever you leave the house? I recently was reading Luke 5:27-39–where Jesus calls the tax collector, Levi (Matthew), to follow Him–and realized something new about the verses.

    After calling Levi, Jesus goes to his house for a party and eats with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees start complaining, asking His disciples why Jesus is eating with sinners. Jesus overhears their complaints and answers them.

    Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance’ (Luke 5:31).

    Jesus wasn’t telling the Pharisees that He saw them as righteous. He was telling them that if they wanted to spend time with Him and be a part of what His Father was doing, they first needed to admit they weren’t the perfect examples of righteousness they made themselves out to be. They would have to admit they were sinners who needed Him.

    People often tell others who struggle with addictions that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery; this is essentially what Jesus was telling the Pharisees. The Pharisees had become addicted to everyone thinking that they were perfect. They felt safe behind the “I’ve got it all together” persona they showed to the world. Jesus told them that to be with Him, they needed to admit that their true situation was different than what they let people see.

    Before you run off and “encourage” others to get real about who they are and what their lives are like, I want you to keep something very important in mind: When the Pharisees were encouraged to get real, Jesus was doing the encouraging. Jesus loved them despite the stuff they didn’t let anyone else see. If you’re going to encourage others to get real about their lives, then you need to be prepared to show them the same kind of love, grace and forgiveness as Jesus Christ.

    You should never encourage someone to get real and then judge them for doing so. That defeats the whole purpose and makes us just like Pharisees. I suggest you start by praying for God to make your heart overflow with love, grace and forgiveness, just like His. I can promise, God will never answer a prayer like that with a “no.”

    Girls, is your public face one that’s “got it all together,” or is it a “real” face that reflects the love, grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ?

    And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-39).

    For more Sunday School with your fellow PI girls, click here!

    More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:

    Sunday School: Is Busyness the Same as Obedience?
    Sunday School: Do You Ever Bargain with God?
    Sunday School: Are You Fasting for Lent?

    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit jenniferarman.com for more on her work. You can also connect with her on www.facebook.com/JenniferArman.Writer and https://twitter.com/JennArman

    13 COMMENTS

    1. I really enjoyed reading this and the Bible Verses. My public face that everyone sees comes off in the other direction. I will admit I use to be like everyone else and do what they did I followed people but the wrong kind of people so back then my public face was not what God wanted. I have finally came to the right path that God wants me on and I can say that now my public face is what God wants.

      • That is wonderful! And very honest of you. I have a similar story, so I totally understand the struggle with conformity. I’m so glad that GOD has blessed you with strength to walk with HIM and not the world. GO Girl!
        Lexi ;}

    2. I go around smiling all the time and being really sweet to people, but at home I tend to be rougher around the edges. Alot of times I let things fly out of my mouth without thinking and I don’t always show my parents the respect they deserve. When I go out, it’s much easier for me to show love to people, but when I’m at home, that’s when the real me shows. I’m encouraged to try to develope that Jesus love when I’m in public AND when I’m at home. Sometimes I just have to stop and realize that I’m not all that perfect and that even though I am kind to people alot of times, that doesn’t mean I have no flaws. This is something I have been struggling with for my whole life, really….not seeing myself for who I REALLY am, the way God sees me. I’m not perfect and, fighting perfectionism, sometimes I have to look deep to see that it’s true. Thank you for this article, I’m going to dig deeper into these verses and study more about Jesus’ love. Studying Jesus’ love never gets old!!!

      • Gracie, I TOTALLY feel you about carrying the burden of perfection! When you see how happy everyone around you seems, it is hard to be the “real” one and show your flaws. I have trouble with this often. It helps me to remember that being needy and imperfect just brings me closer to GOD. And no one around me is perfect, even if they act like it. I have found that being open and honest about your imperfections frees others to do that as well. I LOVE this quote:
        And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson
        Don’t be afraid to be imperfect, even if you feel like the only one. GOD sess the honesty in your heart and will bless you for it!
        Lexi

        • I love what you said, Lexi…it’s so applicable to my life right now. I also carry that burden of perfection, afraid to lose face or admit that I’m not the best or I’m not perfect or I don’t have it all together. I found this video several weeks ago. It’s the song “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North with parts of a sermon by Matt Chandler mixed in. I think this song totally relates to what you said, because it can apply to carrying the burden of perfection, as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAifRGI1Fxs

        • Hey ChristianVoice,
          I just watched the video you suggested. Thank you so much for sharing! It reaffirmed the things I know to be true and gave me hope! GOD bless you, sister in CHRIST! You are deeply loved by GOD, flaws and all, and not alone in your fight!

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