Front Yard, Back Yard

By: Kristen L. McNulty

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Right now if you were standing in my backyard and I asked you how the weather looked, you'd probably reply "fantastic". The sun is shining, the clouds are gorgeous, and rain looks a million miles away. However if I asked the same question to someone standing in my front yard, where the house isn't obstructing the view to the South, the reply would be much different. The person in the front yard would tell you that it looks like rain is going to start pouring down at any minute and they'd probably observe that the darkness was quite evident. They too would also be right. The coming sky is black and looking out to the south, I wouldn't be at all surprised if a downpour came at any minute.

You see there is a big difference in the perspective of someone standing in my front yard versus someone standing in the back. The difference is the line of sight. In my backyard you get a great view of the skies to the North and to the East. While in my front yard the views South, East, and West are all unobstructed.

As I looked at the difference between the two views today my mind wandered to thoughts of the perspective that we often give others of ourselves. Often times we only let people into the backyards of our lives where everything looks sunny and quite hunky dory. We build walls so that they can't see the darkness in the front, the darkness that is invading our souls and our lives.

In the process we split ourselves into two very different people. The guarded individual who screens the forecast and only lets people into the sunny parts of our lives. And the dark person who feels very alone in that darkness.

This isn't a healthy way of dealing with the darkness that crashes into our lives. If we read the Bible we find that our walks through this life were meant to be shared with others, not isolated from the world. In the Bible we are encouraged over and over again to be transparent people who let people both in the front yard and the backyard and into every room of our lives, no matter what the weather looks like in there.

Theologian John Stackhouse said: "We are not called to be microcosms of the gospel but members of the body." Where a microcosm can thrive and survive on its own, a member of a body needs to be attached to the body to survive. And with that attachment comes transparency. Just like a stubbed toe can't keep that collision a secret from the brain (and often stirs a reaction from the mouth), in order to be a healthy member of the body of Christ we need to let people in, during both the good times and bad.

Yes, sometimes people may disappoint us when we show them the front yards of our lives. But there is something much greater to be gained that is worth the risk. That is the encounter that takes place with another member of the body when you take down the walls and find out that their front yard looks mighty similar to yours. And where once you felt quite isolated and alone, suddenly the darkness doesn't seem to over-encompassing after all.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.