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When I was a child my father once pointed out a ramshackled house that sat near one of the major thoroughfares of our home town. The thing he wanted me to see was the fancy brick facade on the front of the house that masked a falling down-awful house behind it.

It was a vivid image. The family that lived in that house wanted to make it appear more sightly than it was. In point of fact it needed paint and repairs, but not on the front.

Humans are like that house. The fronts of our lives are nicely bricked. To the casual observer we look like we have our lives neatly in order: PTA, good jobs, nice children, church going, and polite. We don’t need anything.

But if you move beyond the brick facade you find quite a different situation. You find people who are insecure, doubting, troubled, broken, and hurt. This is hardly a picture from Better Homes and Gardens. And it is the things we work the hardest to keep others from seeing.

One of the reasons that I think Jesus is so important is because he makes us quit the game playing. He helps us see the futility of trying to put on a brick facade on a house that needs paint, a new roof, and lots of restoration.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons my father wanted me to see that house. False fronts don’t fool anyone.