Exposing our doubts, insecurities, and sins, and even our true heart, strength, and genius are risky endeavors. And so we often develop very elaborate fig leaves to hide. And many times we hide behind others – making them a type of straw man instead of revealing our true selves.
For example, we might hide our secret sins by focusing on the clear and obvious sins of others. Instead of humbly confessing our own shortcomings, we promote ourselves and push our agenda because at least we’re not as bad as the blatant sinner.
But we don’t get a pass on our sins just because we think others’ might be worse in our eyes. We’re accountable for our choices regardless of how we might feel about the lifestyle of others. And we don’t get to use them as a type of scapegoat or straw man – trying to bypass our own issues.
And this is true when we hide our strengths as well.
For instance, instead of standing on our own two feet, we drop names and highlight our association with so-called prominent figures. And while riding on their coattails, we’re still holding back and hiding the glory God has given us to reveal.
To be sure, there is a place to emphasize our common ground with those who are also promoting truth and goodness, and to distance ourselves from those who are not.
But either way, whether toward the light or away from the darkness, we should not use others as a straw man – focusing exclusively on their strengths or shortcomings while hiding our own.
Living with integrity demands we own our own stories. And we compromise our strength and the ability for others to fully know and trust our true selves when we consistently hide behind straw men.
In the end, be accountable for your own story – the good, the bad, and the ugly. There’s no need to hide behind straw men. Let your story speak for itself.