WE ALL WANT TO HIDE
“Blessed are the pure in heart” (Matthew 5:9). Or happy are the clean in heart. Or, yet again, blessed and happy are those who have nothing to hide—nothing to be embarrassed about, nothing to be ashamed of.
But who can say that? No one. We all have something to hide.
Each of us are inclined towards hiddenness over openness. When we make a mistake we don’t call our family into the room as quickly as possible to tell them. We cover it up as quickly as possible before they come into the room.
Either out of fear of being rejected or out of hope of holding an advantage, we are not quick to let others see our mistakes. We keep things hidden. But smaller things lead to bigger things, time goes one, and one day we come to the realization that we are not on the inside who we appear to be on the outside. We hide who we are.
And we can’t ignore this. It haunts us in the night; it weighs on us during the day. We are a divided self. Finally, though, some “break” and confess and come clean. And the strangest, least expected thing happens. They’re happy about it! Why? Because we have been made to live and to be in open relationship with God and with others.
GOD DOESN’T HIDE FROM US
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
The pure, the clean, those who have nothing to hide, they will see God. But no one can see the unapproachable God unless… God reveals himself first, approaches us, and makes himself known. The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is precisely this: God doesn’t hide from us. In Jesus Christ God became flesh and manifested himself in order to see and be seen, to speak and to listen, to touch and be touched.
But Jesus didn’t come because God couldn’t be without us. There’s no need in God. No deficiency. No withoutness. “God is love,” in himself, three-in-one, Father, Spirit, Son, before and without creating man.
No. God came in Christ Jesus because he wanted to be with us, because he wanted us to be with him. There’s a purpose in God. He loved us first. If pressed further for a reason why he loved us first, the answer is hardly what we expected: “it is because the LORD loves you” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). The grounds of God’s love for us are found in eternity alone.
We often see things without paying attention to them. Our seeing God, though, is a paying attention to God. It is receiving and cultivating a heart that is attentive towards him—that longs, seeks, asks, and finds him. The seeing grows out of the attentiveness. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after” (Psalm 27:4). It is to have an “appetite for God”; to hunger and to thirst for the living God; to taste of his goodness and to see his beauty.
And yet, to find him, to come to his table, is to realize that all along he’s been paying attention to you. From the beginning he’s been waiting for you. He’s prepared this table for you long before you longed to come to him.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO HIDE ANYMORE
But there’s one last matter to be dealt with. “Blessed are the pure in heart.”
The heart is to be understood as the whole of the inner state or life of man: the mind, will, and emotions. To be pure in heart is to have no thought, no action, and no emotion that you want or need to hide. But can anyone truly, fully, say this of themselves?
No. And yet this is the condition for seeing God. “Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly” (Psalm 15:1-2). “No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house” (Psalm 101:7).
If we say, “I want to see and know God, but I don’t want God to see and know this about me,” then we can’t see and know God. Nothing can be—nothing is—hidden from his sight. We must come out into the open before him, to know him, and we must be found by him pure and clean in every way—every thought, every action, every emotion. We must be found spotless.
But we’re not. Will God reject us? Will God hide from us? Should he?
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). We were hiding in our sin, hidden by our sin, from God. But God, being rich in mercy and love, came down to find us in our sin and to call us out of hiding into the open. Then and there, before him, we are seen as we are: impure and unclean. We have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, nothing to say.
But we hear God speak, and our heart is pierced with love. “Come into the open and wash and be made clean in the blood of Jesus Christ, the spotless one and lamb of God. You don’t have to hide anymore” (1 Peter 1:18-20).
When we see Jesus, we see who we are, but we also see who we want to be. We could go on hiding and pretending to be someone we’re not, or we could come into the light and become who Jesus created and saved us to become.