The Real You
You visit with your neighbor semi-occasionally.  Do you really know him/her?  What is going on behind their closed doors?  Is their marriage about to break up?  Are they in financial difficulty?  Are they involved in something illegal?  Are they part of a religious cult?

Your close friends are different aren’t they?  Aren’t they???  Are you not sure?  Do you get the idea sometimes that they aren’t telling you the whole story?  Do you wonder what things would be like if circumstances changed for them or for you and the friendship was not as easy to continue?  Would their loyalty be tested?  How about yours?  Why?  Could it be because you are not really sure you know them as well as it seems on the surface?  

But how about you?  When someone asks, “How are you doing today?”  Do you give them an honest answer or the socially accepted response “Just fine,” instead?  Are you holding back significant details of your life?   Are you afraid of public disclosure?  Does your family even know you like they think they do?  Would they be surprised if they knew the whole story?  Would they be proud?  Would they be ashamed?

Why do people hide their real self from the rest of the world?  Is it because they fear they will not be accepted?  Are they afraid of being hurt or betrayed?  Do they hold something in reserve so that they can promote themselves at just the right moment and gain an advantage over others?

Are we facades of faith?  We know how to wear our Sunday face when we go to church or other religious functions.  We know how to talk like Christians.  We know what to do to “have church.”  We have practiced our act until it has the appearance of authenticity.  Is it authentic?  

A jingle in the musical Jekyll and Hyde says, 
There's a face that we hide till the nighttime appears,
And what's hiding inside, behind all of our fears,
Is our true self, locked inside the façade!

(See for complete lyrics)

Barbara Erochina in an article titled, “Unmasking Our True Selves” says, “Though there are many masks a person can choose to wear, there are two that are very common.”  They are masks to cover pain, and masks to cover shame.

For whatever reason many people are involved in personal “cover-up’.  At times, it may seem to be a worthy choice, but often it is a matter of deception.  The question before us is, How transparent should we be?   Is it a matter of honesty?  For the answer to this and other questions that will rise from this lesson we will look to the Bible.

The news article before us is the story of a young, popular, likeable, school teacher who committed suicide in her classroom.  When her young students discovered her body hanging from the ceiling of the classroom they must have been plagued with questions.  The teacher they loved and thought they knew evidently had a life which was hidden from public view which brought her to the place of self-destruction.

Lesson Objective:  By the end of the lesson the students will understand the importance of accountability that comes from living a transparent life.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson.  To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, discussion questions, a list of sources, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:
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