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The Cost of Being Real

Updated: Feb 22

The price of being fake.

Sadly, this is true. Painfully true. In fact, I confess I hesitated to post this image--even though I believe and have lived this quote--because my brother Marley looks a little gnarly, a little too real…But that’s Bob’s point.

It was Jesus' point, too.

Jesus was indeed hated for being and declaring the Truth…Hated all the way to The Cross.

The fact is, Jesus hung out with people just like Bob, who, despite opposing claims, was baptized, along with his wife and children, into the Ethiopian Orthodox church months before he died, taking the name Berhane Selassie (which means “The Light of the Holy Trinity” in Amharic).

SIDEBAR: Having just seen Marley's outstanding biopic, "One Love," brimming with Christian themes, I was moved to research Marley and the Rastafari religious movement, which is based on a particular understanding of the Bible. I have tender-hearted and heartbroken empathy for the genesis and rise of the Rastas, essentially a response to abuses under British colonial rule and white Protestant oppression of Africans. But their would-be and unwilling savior, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (1892-1975), was ousted and assassinated, himself an orthodox Christian. In an ironic and telling twist of our shared human nature, some Rastas invoked violence and Afro-centric oppression themselves. Marley's persistent call for peace and reconciliation invited hatred from both extremes of Jamaican politics, including an assassination attempt, depicted in the movie.

Bob’s insight is more true than ever since social media (and now AI) enables, compels, and rewards us for polished-up images of ourselves. We’re rewarded for the smiling faces, the harmonious hugs, the elegant outfits, the charity, and the victories, minus the backstory or fact story. The disconnect is destructive.

Unfortunately, this is especially true in the church, where there's the assumption or expectation that we should be better than we are, lest someone judge our faithfulness or persistent struggles. Such secrecy makes us sick, separates us, and contradicts the whole premise of the Gospel and real-life evidence: That we all need saving because we can't save ourselves.

Often, we don't even see ourselves as we are, and when we catch a glimpse, we rush to stuff it or fluff it up rather than run to The Cross with shouts of Hallelujah, "It's finished!" Repentful and grateful for God's loving remedy.

In Jesus' upside-down Kingdom, God responds to our naked needs with love, forgiveness, and help. The repentant whore, the drunk, the reviled swindlers, the leper, the despairing cripple, the broken spirits…the sinners. When we see and admit our sins, God stands ready to help and heal. On the cross, Christ bore the shame of our sin and all its condemnation.

On the other hand, He saw into the hearts of the unrepentant hypocrites and the other hiders, saving his most scathing rebukes for them and inviting the hatred Bob recognized. Jesus put it this way:

“For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:20)

It’s important to note that Jesus also said,

“The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.” (Luke 12:2)

So, if we are knowingly living a lie or misrepresenting reality about ourselves or anyone else, this would be a good time to come clean and enjoy the GOOD NEWS:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Jesus: Thank You that You endured hate and loved us in our woeful state. Forgive us for hiding and hating and our assorted idols, and help us to forgive the hiders and haters who harm us. Help us all to see the equalizing truth of our ongoing, shared need for You, Jesus. Thank You. I love You.
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Thank you so much for your insight into Bob Marley and how confusion and the thoughts of man invade the purity and simplicity of the Gospel. Your words bless me and are a fresh breath of clean air amidst all of the noise that can be in our world today. Keep writing and publishing. People (myself included) need to read your perspectives given by Holy Spirit. Your Brother and enthusiastic supporter,


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Wow, Mike. Incredibly high praise. I'm so grateful you feel that way. It's a great encouragement to me because I sometimes feel like I'm shouting into a hostile void! Blessings, brother.


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