However, their minds were hardened, for to this day the same veil is still there when they read the old covenant. Only in union with Christ is that veil removed. Yet even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. As all of us reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are being transformed into the same image with ever-increasing glory by the Lord’s Spirit. (2Co 3:14-18 ISV)
Recently I had an exchange with a sister with whom I was in high school. We didn’t know one another back then other than by sight. In fact I find that I really knew very few people back then because of the veil we all projected for fear that we would not be loved for being simply who we were. There was always someone looking for a way to get a leg up and over another person so that they would look good and appear above the rest at their expense.
There is the spiritual man and then there is the carnal or worldly man. The world has been all about hiding and intrigue ever since Adam and Even sinned and covered themselves with fig leaves and hid from God. Men prefer darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.
Anyway, my exchange by email with this sister (who I really met for the first time at recent at a high school reunion) has been going very well, because we can now communicate spirit to spirit with transparency because we both have the Holy Spirit within us and have been maturing in Christ.
It is interesting to read the gospels and Jesus’ encounter with the people of Israel in light of transparency or the lack thereof. Most didn’t have a clue where He was coming from or what He was saying. His greatest appeal to most of them was the fact that He could heal or give them a free meal when hungry. But there were a small handful that He could speak to who had an unveiled face and nothing to hide. Take the Samaritan woman at the well, for instance. What a contrast this “sinner” was with the learned Jews who constantly sough to trap Him from behind their veiled faces… the very meaning of the word hypocrite! To her He revealed great spiritual truths that the learned Pharisee, Nicodemus, couldn’t begin to understand and she was a “sinner” and a “dog” in their eyes. Her unveiled face and honesty made all the difference.
The root of the word hypocrite according to Merrium-Webster:
Middle English ypocrite, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin hypocrita, from Greek hypokritēs actor, hypocrite, from hypokrinesthai
These Greek actors wore masks to deceive and play the part of the person they portrayed. Their faces were “veiled.” So we see Jesus calling these sanctimonious, learned Jews who sought to trap him, hypocrites. He never once called a sinner, harlot, or a publican or even a hated Roman by that name. They all knew that they needed help and came to Jesus, the Great Physician, for that help and he turned none of them away. When criticized by the religious Jews for having contact with the sinners Jesus said, “Those who are whole need not a physician, but those who are sick.”
Have you, as one of His saints, every had a religious person come up to you and fain that they really liked you and wanted to be taken into their confidence, only to find that once you revealed to them what you really felt or believed, they then turned on you and tried to capture or attack you in their vein philosophies and self-righteousness? Have you ever been wounded by such people simply because you laid open your heart to them and then were trampled into the ground? I have.
Jesus warned us to “be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.” He warned us not to spill our pearls before swine because first they will stomp your pearls in the mud and then turn and tare you apart! Transparency is something that makes us vulnerable, but you will see in the Gospels that Jesus was cautious with the Pharisees and Scribes, but open with those who the Father gave Him. In fact He prayed regarding this contrast saying,
“’O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.’ My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Luk 10:21-22 NLT)
Dear saints, we should be able to be “open faced” with one another, because the love of God compels us to reach out to one another in the bond of Christ as members of His body. If we find that we are being betrayed by a person we confided in or that they never reveal what is in their hearts to us and heart to heart communication is a one way street, chances are that we are dealing with either a wounded person that has not been healed or a hypocrite. Remember, our enemy has sown tares in among the wheat in the Father’s field.
But, oh, what a joy it is when we can communicate in loving safety with another in the Spirit and go away knowing we have found a true member of our Spiritual family and just been edified by the experience. This experience keeps us searching and hoping for a broader manifestation of the kingdom of God where unveiled faces abound. Remember, “Only in union with Christ is that veil removed.”
What a promise there is connected if we live with an unveiled face! “As all of us reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are being transformed into the same image with ever-increasing glory by the Lord’s Spirit.” Transparency leads to transformation! We are not being conformed to this world, but transformed into the same image of Jesus Christ by the mind of Christ within whom we behold with open faces and are changed from glory to glory. Remember it is for freedom that Christ has set us free and with that freedom comes transparency and a release from all fear. This transparency affords the revelation of Christ’s true beauty deep from within, the beauty of the Lamb abiding there.