Recently, I had a disagreement with a very dear friend. There was a function neither of us was looking forward to attending. I sucked it up and went. She cancelled out at the last minute, which I did not find out until I got there.
Angry, I sent her a text from the party that said if I could suck it up then she should have as well and shown her face. I was wrong - for being angry and for my mean-spirited text (and for all the evil thoughts I had that no one ever saw or heard or even knows about). I went to her and apologized - to her and to God. Both gave me their forgiveness.
A few days later she and I exchanged texts:
ME: I'm going to order us t-shirts that say "The Suck It Up Sisters". Should our logo be a vacuum cleaner or a straw?
SHE: Ha! Ha! Definitely vacuum We suck up all our garbage. :) Plus straws make me think of milkshakes and now I want a milkshake. :D
With all due respect to my friend, she's wrong, The logo should be the milkshake. It's not our job to do the cleaning because Jesus already has. For example:
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow..." (Is 1:18)
And then there's:
"For all of us have become like the one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment..." (Is 64:6) BUT... "He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying 'Remove the filthy garments from him'. Again he said to him, 'See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festive robes.'" (Zech 3:4) (emphasis mine)
To support the milkshake, there are these verses:
"Taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Ps 34:8)
"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Ps 119:103)
"Your words were found, and I ate them; and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts." (Jer 15:16)
Certainly, there are times when we're called to "suck it up". There is:
"Then Jesus told His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matt 16:24)
"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Yet, all too often I suck it up in the wrong manner for the wrong reasons. I put on a mask of happiness because "God loves a cheerful giver" (2Cor 9:7) or at least that's the reason I tell myself. In fact, it's more likely I don't want people to think badly of me or I want people to think I've got it all together.
Removing my mask makes me vulnerable. There will be people offended or who won't like the real me (ouch);or some will try to comfort or help me, bruising my self-reliant pride (double ouch); or they will confront me on some sin they see (oh, just kill me now!).
In so many instances, my reasons for sucking it up are sinful. Yet, as my pastor often says, once something is identified as sin it's easy because we know the remedy for sin - repent and believe in the gospel. Yes, I know it's easier said than done; but it's true and well worth the effort
The Promised Land was described as a land flowing with milk and honey. The Word speaks of fruits of repentance (Matt 3:8). I see a strawberry milkshake there, folks! Or banana smoothie whatever your pleasure.
It's really hard to suck up the milkshake through a mask. The little mouth holes aren't big enough and they knock the straw around. To fully enjoy what God has offered us through Jesus we need to remove our masks. Some of those around us might be surprised by what we really look like, some will be frightened away. But those that know and love us best already knew what we looked like anyway. And none of them know us better or love us more than Jesus.