“He told me everything I ever did.”
It’s what the Samaritan women said about Jesus in John 4. She hadn’t lived the squeaky clean life to be sure. He called her out on it, but not in an accusatory way. It was just the facts. He knew her. And even though the people she lived around likely had little respect for her, she was the one who got to meet Jesus personally. She was the one who got to share her experience. She was the one able to say, “He knows me.” And she didn’t mind him knowing it all.
Why aren’t we as open to being called out on what we’ve done? Not the highlight reel but the other stuff. It’s good to be known. It’s freeing. It’s the way we can live in truth and grace. When we have accountability and authenticity, we get to live with a confidence and responsibility that doesn’t exist when we hide stuff in the darkness. There is always a fear of being found out. There’s always the risk that our story won’t stick. Often, we convince ourselves so much of the story that we’re shocked when someone puts pieces together and confronts us. That’s what deception does. It distorts and causes a false sense of security. It isolates us even if we’re surrounded by people we love and who love us. We build on shaky foundation because we’re not willing to open up, being honest with ourselves and others.
I know it’s hard. But when you do it on a regular basis, it’s not nearly as difficult as wearing pride or insecurities instead. It’s freeing.
We need to get better at authenticity. We need to be better at revealing weaknesses and wrongs. That’s how we grow. We can’t learn what we don’t know until we admit we don’t know. We can’t correct what’s wrong until we admit something wrong. Like the Samaritan woman, instead of feeling accused and demeaned, we can embrace that others know us. We can be thankful for being known.
Of course, this situation is different when people hurt us. We need to have healthy boundaries and discern well. We can’t know for sure the impact others will have on us or how they will change over time, but we can stay as healthy as we can and build accountability and authenticity into multiple relationships in every area of our lives. Then, when someone changes and mistreats us, we have better context and support.
It is a joy to know and be known. To constantly be sharing concerns, weaknesses, doubts, and mistakes. To respectfully listen and help others. It doesn’t mean we overlook warning signs for ourselves and others. We don’t sweep our concerns under the rug. That’s not authenticity. We can only be held accountable in the context of what we share, but those things we don’t share? They create lumps under the rugs, and eventually, they trip us up as well as the people around us. That seems to surprise or anger us more than we’re willing to admit—when much of the responsibility is our own. Be available. Be willing. Be open and honest. Be accountable. Be known.