Matters of Faith: Coming Out of the Tombs


by Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, M.Div

Being vulnerable opens the door for you to know who you are. Through that door you find your emotional parameters, your mental shortcomings, and your physical limitations. It also opens the door for people to know who you are. I’m talking about the real you, the inner you that’s been hiding behind the facade that you built to protect yourself from the onslaught of demeaning, hurtful, and loving but ignorant people.

Most of us have spent a lot of time and put in a lot of effort to create the image that we want people to see. But in the process of creating that facade, we have buried our authentic selves, sometimes so deep that we have lost touch with ourselves. We’ve build an exterior, but on the inside, our authentic self is wasting away. Reaching that person requires honest and intentional effort. It requires that we open ourselves up to being emotionally vulnerable, mentally deficient, physically limited and character challenged. It opens us up to being seen as we really are, not the persona we’ve created. It is one of the scariest propositions we will ever have to face.., coming face-to-face with that person who we may not have seen since we were children. But as scary as this may be, it’s the place where life truly begins. Until you encounter the you that nobody knows, you are nothing more than a dead man or a dead woman walking.

Consider the Gedarene Demoniac found in Mark 5:1-20. This man lived in the cemetery. He was not able to be controlled, had superhuman strength, cried out and cut himself with stones. He had an identity, but it was not his true self. He was strong, but not with the strength that liberates. An encounter with Jesus exposed his vulnerabilities but it also revealed his authentic self. His encounter with Jesus freed him from his internal torment and put in his right mind. This man who lived among the dead, come out of the tombs to live. That one encounter was all it took to help this man come face-to-face with himself. Frightening? Without a doubt! He knew who he was that morning. What he didn’t know was who he would become that afternoon. Once he recognized who we really was, he would never go back to living in the tombs.

Yes, vulnerability is where we encounter our breaking points, but it’s also where we uncover our greatest possibilities. Be willing to be vulnerable and get ready to experience the fantastic you that you never knew…, your genuine, your real, your authentic self. Jesus told those at the tomb where Lazarus was buried, “Take away the stone.” Then He shouted in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  When Jesus restores life to the dead, they might look funny. They might act funny. They might still do strange things. After all, they were dead! They still have on their grave cloths! Climb out of the tomb and take off your grave clothes. You’re authentic self has been set free!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is an associate minister at both Goodwill Baptist and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx.

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