We are the people who hide. The ones who slouch our way through Bible studies and small groups. The ones who cling to Christian respectability and mask our stories beneath a facade of normalcy.
We are the people who, rejected by the church, hide again in the queer community, deflecting questions about our personal lives, evading talk about our faith, lest we be rejected here too. Alone once again.
We are the stories that challenge the status quo in every battle of the culture wars. The POWS of every camp. We are the ones with nowhere to stay and nowhere to go. So we hide. We make peace with our prisons to survive.
But it’s in that place that the voice of the Father calls to us, “saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out.’” (Isa. 49:9). Come out, he cries. Step into my light.
Scripture Delights in Real People with Real Stories
“In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’” – Isa. 49:8-9
We are the children of a God who delights in real people with real stories. No masks. We follow in the footsteps of liars like Jacob and traitors like Peter. Kings like David, the “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) who committed adultery as well as murder and downright failed as a father.
Such are the stories of God’s people. We follow in a great tradition of heroes painted in all their inglorious reality. Who wants to read about a perfect King David? It’s in the raw reality of his story that we find hope for ourselves and inspiration that, despite our faults, we too can find God.
So it’s no surprise that we follow a Savior who comes out himself through a genealogy of adultery, harlotry, and an extra-marital affair. He introduces himself as a “Nazarene” to people who think Nazareth is a “ghetto” and persists in associating with the most undesirable members of society.
Our own Savior was not ashamed to be seen and known as an outcast.
To Follow Jesus Is to Walk in the Light
“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” – Luke 8:16-17
When the light of Jesus shines in our lives, it shines through the cracks and the holes. It shines through the very same things that the world calls “broken,” exposing our wrongness to showcase his righteousness. Indeed, when the light of Jesus shines in our lives, it means opening ourselves to be known.
Thus, when we hide what the world deems “wrong,” only showcasing what the world deems “right,” we inadvertently hide the Gospel from the world. We hide Jesus beneath a veil of respectability. And a perfect story leaves no room for a savior.
If Christ is the light, then we are the prism. Our jagged angles make the colors. If you dislike a particular color, you can only hide it by obstructing the light. So too with Jesus. When we hide a part of our story, we obstruct the very light of our Savior.
Coming Out and Living Exposed
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.” – Matt. 10:26-27
In the Kingdom of God, the tales worth telling are the ones that tell everything. God operates in the realm of exposure. True stories make him known. Not the fake ones.
So what part of your story are you hiding this month? In what ways do you hide Jesus by hiding yourself? What would it look like for you to stand in the light? What would it look like for Jesus to be fully known because you are fully known?
Jesus called his followers a “city on a hill” (Matt. 5:14). We were never meant to hide. So tell your story, and tell it loud. Tell the parts that people love and the parts that people hate. Come out into the light. For it’s through your story that Jesus shines.
If you’ve gone through the coming out journey, I’d love to hear your story. What was it like for you? Was it easier than you expected? Harder?
If you haven’t come out, I’d love to hear your story too. Not everyone actually CAN come out for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is related to safety. Only you can decide if and when you’re ready. What sort of things would make it more feasible for you? What needs to change?