Author – Brennan Manning
Publisher – New York: HarperCollins, 2000
In his book, Brennan quotes various writers and theologians on almost every page. Some I appreciate and others not so much. In some portions, I felt like I was being led down a path of mystical contemplation; and at other times, I got clear guidance from scripture.
Brennan is transparent with his own life drama. And with great skill, he weaves in human stories that touch to the core of our weakness and brokenness. We all need compassion, forgiveness, and grace.
And if there is anyone that we can ruthlessly trust with all that we are – it is Jesus. I believe that the heart of this book is chapter 7 – “Trusting Jesus”.
“Is there anyone I can level with? Anyone I dare tell that I am benevolent and malevolent, chaste and randy, compassionate and vindictive, selfless and selfish, that beneath my brave words lives a frightened child, that I dabble in religion and pornography, that I have blackened a friend’s character, betrayed a trust, violated a confidence, that I am tolerant and thoughtful, a bigot and a blowhard, that I hate hard rock?”
“Sensing that if I bare my soul, I will be abandoned by my friends and ridiculed by my enemies, I remain in hiding, borrowing from the cosmetic kit to put on my pretty face. I veil my unstated distrust behind a cheerful countenance, mask my fears behind sanguine pretense, and present a false self that is mostly admirable, mildly prepossessing, and superficially happy. Later, I hate myself for my flagrant dishonesty. Who can I turn to?”
The answer is Jesus.
“Raw honesty with Jesus about our doubts and anxieties, our lust and laziness, our shabby prayer life and stale religiosity, our mixed motives and divided hearts is the risk we take in the certainty of being acceptable and accepted. It is the full and mature expression of invincible trust. Jesus is the friend who will never fail, the faithful one who will never be lacking in fidelity, even when people are unfaithful to him, the stranger to self-hatred who estranges us from self-hatred.”