In our early morning study-prayer group we have been working on this little book for more than a year now. We take a couple pages each week, reading and discussing and talking about our lives, praying for each other before we leave.
The book is TrueFaced written by the team of Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. I love this book. We all do. Rob Frazier, our group leader, recommends it highly. Even though it’s written by three men, it doesn’t seem like it came from a committee. It is a very personal book written for personal people.
The sub-title of the book is “trust God and others with who you really are”, which is the one of the essences of love. How can we love and be loved if we can’t trust enough to allow others to see beneath our mask? A quote from Shakespeare adorns the cover below the sub-title: “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.”
These are the masks, the personal covers, that keep us from lives of grace, hope and love. This book is a comfortable refuge in which we can get used to the fact that there is an alternative to this lonely, frustrating thing we call “doing the best we can”.
The authors write in the first chapter,
We wrote TrueFaced for those who pant for a life worth living… for those who have tasted of their destiny, but have lost its flavor in brokenhearted disappointment… for those suffocating under hope-stiffling masks… for those longing to see their God with eyes no longer filtered with fear, self-disgust, and desperate proving.
I found a home in this book. It’s a great place to live for a while and be reminded daily of these freeing truths.
Chapter two is entitled “To Please or to Trust”. It uses the metaphor of “the room of good intentions” as contrasted with “the room of grace.” Attempting to please God by acting on good intentions – we have all tried it and know how frustrating and ineffective it is. But the room of grace is the way of trusting God with who we are, allowing Him to accept us. It does take some getting used to. We are prone to return to the old ways. But the room of grace is always there for our good if we receive it.
And it is the only way to please God after all. Trust = faith. And faith is, after all, our justification in the sight of God.
In Chapter three, speaking of our sin issues, the grace and acceptance of God is shown to be the practical means of dealing with sin problem.
The environment of grace provides me with truth, acceptance, healing, safety, perspective, freedom, and power that I did not before know; these realities are foundational to resolving my sin issues.
On the other hand, good intentions and the stiving associated with them do nothing but “suck grace—and therefore power—right out of the room.”
There is one chapter each on the gifts of grace love, repentance and forgiveness. Repentance is treated in a refreshing way. The grace-filled gift of repentance is contrasted with the striving, ineffective willpower-based intention we all have gotten caught up in many times. True repentance is a gracious meeting with God and other people in which love and grace is showered upon us. It is a room with a warm hearth. It is a homecoming.