Monday, December 17, 2007
Every class has its clown, and Johnny was one of those. He was one of the first teenagers I met when we moved to New Jersey years ago, and he was always fun to be around. There was always a joke. He was always a clown - always the life of the party. That's why his call late one night came as such a shock to me. I was still a little bleary from being awakened by the phone ringing when I heard him say, "This is Johnny. I called to say goodbye. You're the only one I thought it was worth saying goodbye to." I didn't like the sound of that goodbye, so I asked him to tell me where he was, and he had actually broken into my office to call me. I asked him to wait there until I could get there. We talked most of the night. No clown, no jokes, no life of the party that night. The life of the party was about to check out of the party for good. Johnny poured out the pain that he was feeling from a messed up family and some disappointing relationships. He'd been on his way to kill himself. Thank God, by dawn, he had decided to live. And I knew there was a darkness now that had been hiding all along behind a mask that said, "No problems."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Behind The Happy Face."
Johnny isn't unique. Behind many a happy face hides a hurting heart, and maybe you're one of them. The happy face helps you live in a temporary denial of the pain inside, and it keeps other people from knowing a you that you're afraid they might not accept. But like the beach ball that you push farther and farther under the water, the deeper you bury it, the higher it's going to go when it finally goes off. And it will. You can't bury the real you forever. As far as everyone knows, maybe you're the happy one, maybe even the hero. But you know that there's a wounded monster inside you. You're a wounded person with no place to bleed.
Before the explosion, you've got to find someone whose love you can trust enough that you can finally let it all out; someone who can help heal the hurt that you've been trying to hide. The good news, the hope news, is that there is someone like that. Someone you don't have to hide anything from because He already knows everything about you.
Hebrews 4, beginning with verse 13, our word for today from the Word of God says, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." No secrets. No need for the mask. But how will God respond to you if you open the dam and let out all those dark feelings? Speaking of Jesus, it goes on to say, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet without sin." You're pouring it out on a God who's been here; who's lived our pain. The Bible goes on here to say you may approach God "with confidence" that you will receive His mercy and grace.
Jesus is the one safe place to let it all out. He knows every dark corner of your heart. He died to pay for and forgive every sin you've ever done, every sin that's ever been done against you. His love isn't based on your performance. He loves you unconditionally. He died for you, knowing all about you. If He was ever going to turn His back on you, it would have been when He was nailed to a cross for you. He didn't reject you then. He won't reject you now. He never will.
Once you reach out to Him with all your sin and all your pain, embracing Him in total trust to be your own Savior from your own sin, He's yours and you're His. This could be your Liberation Day if you're ready to open up to His love and begin your unloseable relationship with Jesus Christ. If that's what you want, I would love to help you take that step. And I think it would help if you could go to our website and find there a very brief explanation of just exactly how to get started with Jesus. The website is yoursforlife.net. And I hope you'll go there right away today. Or you can call toll free and ask for my Yours for Life booklet in print. The number is 877-741-1200.
Let the healing begin today. Let the greatest love in the world into your life. Then you can show the world the smile, not of a happy front, but of a happy heart.