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February 7, 2018

Deep Connections: Part 1

“A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with understanding can draw them out.” Proverbs 20:5 (MSG/NLT) 

Our culture is more connected to one another through social media than any generation before, but sadly more disconnected from any deep and meaningful relationship than ever before.  We can have thousands of friends on Facebook but not one real friend we relate to face to face.  Our deepest need is not the exchange of information or how many likes we get from a tweet.  Our heart’s greatest longing is to love and be loved.  How can we take superficial relationships to a deeper level to satisfy that longing in our hearts and move from confusion to a deep connection?

Proverbs is a book of wisdom in the Bible and offers this insight for building relationships that are real, relationships that are deep with understanding.  In Proverbs 20:5 the Bible says,

“A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with understanding can draw them out.”  

God wired us for relationships that are both deep and understanding.  Where there is no understanding, there is no depth in a relationship.  So, if you desire to get beyond the surface in a relationship, you need understanding.  Yet, too often, when asked “How are you doing?” or “What are you thinking?” we are too afraid to be honest.  We put on a mask to hide our true feelings.  We fear rejection or doubt how much someone really cares to know.  We are all broken people with faults and flaws, and we are in relationships with people with faults and flaws; but, we try to hide those faults and flaws to appear like we have it all together or we’re not hurting when, inside, we desperately long for someone to care, someone to listen.  Are you wearing such a mask?

It could be a mask of laughter.  You act happy to cover up the sadness you really feel because you don’t want to appear as a “Debbie Downer”.  Maybe it’s a mask of success.  You strive to achieve so others may accept you.  It could be a mask of intelligence.  You want others to admire how smart you are when, inside, you feel unsure of yourself.  Maybe you wear the “macho” mask with an “I don’t care” attitude when, really, you are afraid to reveal how much you want someone to care for you.  What masks are you hiding behind?  Christians often hide behind the mask of “spirituality”.  We act as if it would be unspiritual to share what we are really thinking and how we really feel. But, without understanding, you will never experience a deep relationship.  Author and pastor, John Ortberg said, “You can only love and be loved to the extent that you know and are known by somebody.”  If you desire a deep relationship, I want to challenge you to put this acrostic into practice today!

D – ecide not to hide

The New Testament sheds some light on Moses in the Old Testament and the mask he wore.  It started out as a veil to cover his face.  He needed the veil because, when he left the presence of God to speak to the people, his face shown with the glory of God so bright that the people couldn’t look at him.  They must have thought how spiritual he was!  He had the glory of God shining on his face!  He was such a man of God!  But with time, the glory began to fade and the veil became a mask.

“He (Moses) wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn’t notice that the glory was fading away.” 2 Corinthians 3:13 (MSG)

A mask of spirituality is really a mask of pride.  But, then, he would eventually take the mask off.  That must have been such a relief for Moses.  Wearing masks will wear you out!  What mask are you hiding behind?  The first step to taking your relationships to a deeper level is deciding not to hide!  Take off your mask and be real.  Running the risk of rejection is worth the freedom you will experience.  In fact, you may impress people with your mask, but you will draw people to you when you are real and genuine.

Tomorrow, we will look at the next letter in this acrostic.