Okay, I admit it, I’m not proud of it, but watching Big Brother is one of my secret pleasures.
What fascinates me about this show? Well it is an interesting study in psychology and human nature.
Seriously. Any time you throw a bunch of people together for an extended period of time tensions will arise. Even among the best of friends some boundaries need to be established for harmonious relationships to develop. But when you throw together a group of strangers, all of whom are out only for themselves in a high stakes game, those tensions will be far more pronounced.
Add to that mix absolutely no opportunity for privacy, (not even in the bathroom) and the discomfort level goes way up.
Add to that mix the constant stress of the lying, cheating, backstabbing and scheming to consolidate your positions, and you can see the paranoia rise.
Add to that mix the constant fear of the unknown as “Big Brother” throws curve ball after curve ball designed to upset your sense of balance, well being and confidence.
And what do you have? A prescription for sheer instability, high stress and possible breakdown. People’s real natures are very soon revealed to the viewer, if not to the other contestants.
I can see that the contestants try to sell their lies to each other, after all that’s a big part of consolidating your position in the game, but what I don’t get is that when the go to the confession room, they repeat those same lies to us. Really?! Do they not know that we have been watching? Do they not know that we have seen what they have done and heard what they have said? Who are they trying to fool?
Who are they trying to fool? An interesting question to be sure, and one that we all can apply to our spiritual lives.
It is possible that we can fool the minister, sometimes, but as I get more and more savvy about people this minister is fooled less and less often. And vice versa, we ministers need to know that the people see our flaws as well, and we can’t fool them all.
It is possible that we can fool some of the other people in the congregation, but let me tell you, you can’t fool everyone….there is always someone who is onto you.
What is not possible is to fool God. So why do we try? Seriously, why do we try?!
Yet, I know that I do try. Sometimes when I am before God in confession I gloss over some stuff that I know darn well God knows about already. I know that I don’t want to look bad to myself or to God, but I know what I have done and said, and God knows what I have done and said.
Repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand, but they do require honesty. You can’t repent of something that you don’t acknowledge and you can’t know the peace of being forgiven for something that you try to hide from God.
When we are before God, we need to be open and honest, to be otherwise is pointless. Absolutely pointless. The end notes in the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible has a definition of confession that I believe needs to be at the core of our relationship with God.
Confession: Sharing our deepest weaknesses and failures with God and trusted others, so that we may enter into God’s grace and mercy and experience his ready forgiveness and healing.
This means that we need to develop relationships of trust.
Trust the church: We as a church are called to love and to share one another’s burdens. As we establish friendships with those people God brings into our path we learn that we can be honest with them. They are not going to take what they learn and gossip about us or stab us in the back, like the contestants on Big Brother and if they do….SHAME ON THEM. I know that I have been hurt in this way, those people are no longer my friends. Yes trust requires discernment and it requires an understanding of human nature and the redemptive power of Christ.
Trust God: God is not Big Brother waiting for a moment when we are vulnerable just so he can throw disaster at us. God loves us. God knows us. God knows what we need. God wants to support us, comfort us, guide us, and uphold us. Even when God’s people let us down, God does not. Nor will God ever let us down. More importantly even when we let God down he will still love us and still forgive us.
Why can we trust God? Because God knows us, inside and out and God still loves us.
Psalm 139 tells us all that we need to know about being known by God….
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.
No matter what, when we come to the end…. God is still with us. O praise his holy name.