I was walking in the mall when the tag line of an ad caught my eye: “Because you need to put on your face.”
How often do we “put on our face”? Some may read this in the literal sense of putting on makeup, but so much more often we do this figuratively.
We’ve scarcely finished scowling at our spouse or our children than when we step out of the car and greet a neighbour or a fellow church member with a cheery smile.
We’ve barely gotten through complaining about our boss or colleague before someone appears and we wipe our faces clean into a veneer of pretence.
We may have our minds on something troubling but we act as though nothing is amiss to friends and people we meet.
We “put on our faces” to guard our privacy and avoid unwanted questions. We do it to be professional and to be able to carry out our duties. Be it for legitimate or selfish reasons, we do it often enough that it becomes second nature to us.
But there’s one person we don’t need to “put on our face” for, and that person is Jesus.
There’s no need to, because He knows everything there is to know about us.
He knows every moment of when we’re asleep and when we’re awake. He knows our thoughts and what we’re going to say even before we speak.
He knows what’s happening when we are at work, when we’re at home, when we travel, when we’re alone in our room, and even when we go to the bathroom.
He knew us right when we were in our mother’s womb, for it was He who formed us, inside and out.
His knowledge of us is so perfect that He knew every single day of our lives before we even lived one of them.
He knows all our imperfections and our idiosyncrasies. He is well familiar with our baggage and our junk. And He still loves us all the same.
God didn’t send Jesus to die for us and save us because we were trying our best to be good.
God sent His one and only Son Jesus to die our death for us while we were still sinners. While we were ignorant of God and didn’t care to know Him. While we were raging against Him and cursing Him. While we were partying hard and getting into the same ruts that were destroying us.
God knew all about that and He sent Jesus for us anyway. In this He showed His unfathomable love for us.
We don’t have to be afraid to come to Him, just as we are. Whether it’s before we’re Christians, or after we become Christians.
Because once we receive Jesus and what He has done for us at the cross, we receive perfect standing before God, forever.
And just like that, we can always come boldly to the throne of God Almighty and expect to receive mercy and grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Jesus doesn’t need us to “put on a face” of any sort before He helps us. Not a pious face, not a face full of faith, not even a needy face.
In fact, if we want to receive anything from Jesus, we need to leave “our face” behind and be really honest and real with Him.
The Syro-Phoenician woman could not receive the healing she desperately sought for her daughter until she stopped pretending to be a Jew in addressing Jesus as “Son of David” (a term used only by the Jews), and simply called Him “Lord” and asked Him to help her (Matthew 15:21-28).
The religious Pharisees who boasted in their knowledge of the law and always acted pious and self-sufficient never received from Jesus, even though there must have been among them those who were in need.
Jesus loves us too much to help us when we have “our face” on, because He knows we’ll never really feel loved that way.
But when we come to Him with our hurts, our worries, and our tiny faith, He simply fills in the gaps and the voids with His comfort, His peace, and His all-encompassing faith, and that’s when we feel truly loved.
Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that you’re not a good enough person to come to Jesus for salvation. Because He doesn’t need you to be.
And don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that because you’re a Christian, you need to have a certain level of faith, holiness, professional Christian knowledge or penance before you can commune with and receive from Jesus. Because He doesn’t need you to have.
Don’t worry about “putting on your face” before coming to Jesus. Just come to Him as you are, and let Him love your broken and unfinished parts into His perfect wholeness.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.