Woody Allen once said that he couldn't stand two things: personally watching his own movies, and the thought that no one watched his movies. He stayed away from watching the final product because it was just unbearable to observe all the mistakes he had failed to correct. Yet, there was the hope that if he never saw them, they may not actually be there. But, what plagued him even more was the worry that no one would watch his work, or if they did, they would find each mistake he made and criticize them.
One of the major human dilemmas on the college campus is that everyone desperately wants to be loved, but we all know deep down that in order to be loved, we must be fully known. The dilemma is that no one believes they will be loved if they are fully known. In fact, it terrifies us. Most of our interaction with people is just a strategy to allow them to know the best (and most likeable) things about us while keeping them at a distance where they never know the most intimate details of our lives. We will share and talk about anything that is not risky, all the while, believing that we are truly getting to know someone, calling them "friends". It is an agreeable exchange that takes place everyday on the camps, "I will get involved in your life until you want to know about _____". This is why the problem of loneliness is everywhere on a campus of 47,000 people. No one wants to let you in, and you don't want to let them in. The problem becomes a dilemma because we are all made in the image of God. All human beings are made after a God who is personal, relational, committed, and never alone. The great NT professor Herman Ridderbos said "the most dehumanizing thing one can ever experience is loneliness." We all know we are not meant to be lonely, that's why it hurts so much when we are.
What we end up doing with our dilemma is solving it with plausible lies. This is most clearly seen on the college campus with sex. When two people "hookup" it is a deep reaction to loneliness. It is an expression of the deep longing to be fully known. But coupled with that longing is the fear of what people will do with what they now know about you (and they now know everything). Will they love me now that they have seen me like this? Are they going to reject me? The fear that they will not love them is so overwhelming that it compels them to just walk away, pretending it really was not a big deal, calling it "just sex". The painful irony is that afterwards, there is more loneliness than there was before, as you are right where you started.
In Psalm 139, David writes of a God who fully knows us, inside and out. He says "O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether." It is almost freeing to know that the living God knows everything about us, the stuff we hide, protect, and conceal from everyone. He knows it, and there is no running from that as David continues, "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?" If God were a God of works righteousness, then this would be the worst news of all, the justified reaction would be to run. For who could love me if they knew my deep secrets? More so, how could they love me if they knew? Our desires and fears are drawn to what Jesus had with the father, "the father knows me and I know the father." The solution to our dilemma is an all knowing God of grace, who fully knows us and loves us, in fact, David says we have his right hand of blessing. How? If God really knows everything about us, how can he love us? We know because on the cross, Jesus was naked, he was fully known; and when God saw him, he saw that he had become sin, so that when God sees us, we may be seen as righteous, naked and unashamed.
I think we all crave to be able utter these words to anyone without fear and in full assurance, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"