Moses was one of the most educated people in his generation. He was educated as the future leader of the most powerful nation on earth. He had been raised as the son of the world’s most powerful man and was groomed to rule. Consequently, he understood not only the political, economic, scientific and social dynamics of his day, but he also understood the accepted contemporary spiritual practices. He knew and had worshipped the gods of Egypt. He understood God, or so he thought.
After committing murder and abandoning his relationships and responsibilities, he lived in exile in the desert for forty years, God met with him and identified himself as “I AM WHO I AM,” If we in the modern age wanted to say the same thing, we would say, “I am who I am, and you have to accept me as I am.” In order to fully grasp this encounter, we have hear God speaking to Moses with some attitude in his voice; ” Are you humble yet? Stop thinking you know who I am and what I’m like. You don’t know me, and neither do those who say they know what I do and do not do. They think they know me and can represent me, but they misrepresent me and don’t know me as well as they think they do. I am who I am. Let me speak for myself and represent myself.
I know the problems that develop when others presume to represent another. In the 2006 scandal that shook my world, I resigned, repented, confessed, and submitted. Consequently, it allowed others to speak for me without consulting me or knowing actual facts. As a result, the web is filled with distortions, misrepresenting my actions, personality, motivations, and relationships. Building on false presuppositions, many have taken broad liberties with my story without reading my books, listening to my sermons, or meeting with me, and have come to flawed conclusions. If someone tries to determine my belief systems by reading skewed reports on the web, they would be deeply mistaken. Everyone should have the liberty to represent themselves. I think God doesn’t appreciate being misrepresented and wants to represent himself to each of us as well.
So for us to understand him, we have to be willing to accept that God is who he is, whether we like him or not, and whether we like what he does . . . or doesn’t do. He enters into a relationship with us just the way we are. Then the authenticity and dynamic of that relationship improves our lives. But for that relationship to be legitimate, our response to Christ’s call must be, “and I am who I am.” Then and only then can there be the beginning of a trust saturated, life-changing bond.
Every child has to dismiss their fantasies about their parents in order to actually meet them. Every spouse has to realize that dating their spouse was incomplete, and as the years pass they actually meet one another. It’s in the acceptance of each other that we all have authentic relationship. Christ is faithful never to leave us in our worst or best days. He is always faithful.
We need to stop the pretense and be honest about who we are so we can have authentic relationships and grow. We have to practice genuine family relationships. With authenticity we can proactively learn how to invest in each other’s success, have the courage to identify with one another, and the wisdom to encourage one another in the most difficult situations. . . just like Jesus. To know Christ, we must accept that he is who he is. For us to be his family here on the earth, we have to realistically be willing to invest in one another in the midst of the realities of our strengths and weaknesses, good days and bad, successes and failures. We are a family.
That’s 21st Century Evangelicalism.