I say this to myself in my head whenever someone misjudges me: “You don’t know me!” What I mean is the person in question doesn’t know who I am, what my past is, what my struggles are. They only see a snapshot of my life, and an incomplete one at that.
It’s a defense mechanism, for sure. It’s a way of saying you can’t judge me because you don’t have all the facts. Your judgement is wrong and invalid. I’ve been saying/thinking it for years and years.
What I didn’t realize until recently is that I make sure this statement – “You don’t know me” – is true by not letting people get to know me. I’ve talked about walls and masks before and about how I don’t let people get too close to the real me. This is a slight variation on this.
Usually when I think of my walls, I think of them in terms of preventing people from hurting me. I also set up walls to keep people from seeing the real me and knowing my past so they are never in a position to judge me rightly. Implicit in this is that if people ever did judge me rightly, I would be found lacking.
And you know what? I’m absolutely right. If anyone ever truly knew me – my struggles, my past, my thoughts and feelings – they would find me lacking. That’s called being human. I hate that it’s true because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but I’m not perfect. Even on the sliding scale of human righteousness, I’m not doing so well. I did have an affair, after all.
This is a tough pill to swallow, but there’s hope for me yet. It’s not in making myself a better person, although that is a worthy goal. It’s God’s forgiveness and grace. I will never measure up to His righteousness, but I don’t have to. Jesus already did that and by following Him I get to share His righteousness. Not only that, but I’m being transformed into his image (Romans 12:2). So it’s not me making myself a better person, but God working through me, sanctifying me just a little more each day.
Will I start letting people in? Will I walk in the confidence of knowing I’m an adopted son of God (Galatians 4:4-7)? Good question. I know I need to walk in faith and not in the fear of being known and judged. It’s not always easy to trust God, especially when you know it’s going to hurt. But I do trust and believe in God, though imperfectly, so I pray “Lord I do believe – help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)