"To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known but not loved is our worst nightmare. But to be fully known and fully loved - that is our deepest yearning." - Tim Keller
These words from Keller describe the human experience very well in just a few words. Many (maybe all) of us have wrestled with whether someone would love us if they knew everything about us. That worry leaves us hiding something. And that hiding prevents us from experiencing true intimacy and community with others.
Unfortunately, many of us also have the story of someone knowing a piece of us that they use to beat us up. I've heard this statement too many times to count in my office and other places. "I did that 'opening up thing' before. It was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life." That's what it feels like to be known but not loved.
Those two experiences keep many of us from ever risking what it would take to be fully known and fully loved.
But what if I told you that what you thought was your story isn't your story? What if I told you those things in your life that you're ashamed of are only a small chapter of your story? What if you believed that those things are not your pain, but the things you turned to try and escape your pain?
This morning, I want us all to see that we each have a story of pain and brokenness - "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." I'm afraid that for some of us, because our struggle isn't scandalous or tabloid-worthy, we don't think we have one. That will leave you unavailable to those of us who know we have a story that we're ashamed of.
Maybe you're with us this morning and you feel like you have one of those scandalous, "nobody can handle this" stories. I want you to know that the Southwest Church can and will if you let us. We know it isn't your whole story, and we know how the story ends when we give it over to Jesus.