Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

What do we really know about people? We form opinions from our experiences and what we perceive to be true. From their reputation, and what we see and hear.

In modern times, many have become expert manipulators. Seeking to shape the images they want to convey, they become more articulate speakers. They may change their appearance, with new styles and wardrobes. They may act differently so we may think of them in a different way.

In the past, images often were established by official portraits, crafted by men like sixteenth-century master Hans Holbein, who painted portraits of many important people of his time.

Today, for example, much of what we know about Thomas Cromwell, one of the most important English politicians of that century, comes from Holbein’s portrait. Biographer Tracy Borman described this as “far from flattering,” even “brutally honest.” He seems to be “pensive,” wearing somber, dark-colored clothes. Not a man of style and aristocracy but “a rather grumpy bureaucrat.”

We are left to wonder if this was his desire, reflecting a “distaste for ostentation.” Or was this a “pragmatic choice,” selected to please his master, King Henry VIII. Cromwell also seems decisive and authoritative, holding a document, ready to move into action. This, it would seem, is how Cromwell wanted to be remembered.

The Bible reminds us that we may be able to influence how others think of us, but we cannot fool God. He sees our hearts and knows everything about us. He wants us to be clean and pure in His sight. Not manipulators, but people who always speak the truth. Who are faithful and trustworthy ambassadors for Him, modeling what it means to be clean and pure because of the Gospel.

We see the importance of honesty in the Bible’s description of heaven, a place with streets “like transparent glass.” This is the way our lives are to be before Him, and with others. Transparent. Open. Honest. Pure.