The old-school thinking was along these lines: My private life is private.  I keep it to myself.  I don't share much of my struggles or burdens.  No-one really wants to hear about that.  People want to hear what's positive.  So I'll share what's positive of myself, of my life.  That way, everyone can get along and enjoy life.  Blah blah blah.

New-school thinking is more along these lines:  Everyone is interested in me.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  So what if there's more of the bad and ugly?  I'll just share it all - hellooooo world!  Here I am - warts and all!  Like what you see?  If you tell all like me then you can join me in my misery, self-absorbed, how-open-I-am kind of life!

Now let's talk about transparency.  Let's make that TRANSPARENCY.  With CAPITALS.

I wanted to title this 'integrity' but thought 'transparency' fit better.

Transparency means allowing people to see us as we are - even if that includes some of the struggles we face, some of the besetting sins in our lives and some of the better things - like what we're good at or how God has enabled us to grow.  Transparency means I'm really not hiding anything.  There is a dignity to transparency - we don't share every little thing or every failure.  But if someone came across our path who witnessed or knew of one of these moments, if we are transparent, they wouldn't be surprised.

We shouldn't be afraid of being 'told on'.  What do I mean?  Well, in families sometimes one person is nasty to another.  Someone is hurting and cannot confront the nasty person.  So they share it with someone else for their help.  Then the nasty person is all offended and feels 'told on'.  The point really is - shouldn't we live in such a way that there are no nasty secrets?  That if we do treat another poorly, that we repent and apologize?  That if we are 'told on' it is not the telling one's fault, but the fault of the offender for being slow to listen?

Transparency requires something the UN-transparent don't get: an understanding of, and reliance upon GOD'S GRACE.  If I felt I had to perform for you and keep my nasties hidden from you, I would be relying on my need of your acceptance.  I would be fueling an idol - the idol of my reputation - how you think of me etc.

If I rest securely in God's grace it means I know I need it.

It means I am willing to let the world hate me because I have Jesus, and He is all I need.

It means I know I am a sinner and have fallen on His Grace for Redemption.

In knowing this, in resting in this, I can be transparent.  It means I still have nasties in me that are shameful and embarrassing.  But because of Grace, I can let that be seen - I can turn from it and repent and apologize.
I can rest in God's acceptance and love even if you reject me.

Often we fail to be transparent because we are keeping hidden idols.  But idolatry is hard to hide.  It creeps out into the open and we'd like to pretend we love God most when really we have all this other stuff we hang onto and woe to anyone who gets in the way of our idols!  Idols tend to be more along the lines of control - control of stuff, time, energy, resources.  I want my stuff and don't get in my way - it's my idol and no I won't be transparent with you if you want to talk me out of hoarding my stuff - go away - I don't want a lecture from you... etc.  These are the messages of the non-transparent.  Those who hide.  Those who sacrifice anyone and anything that gets in their way.  These are those who cannot rest in the merciful grace of God.

I have these issues - don't we all?  I am not always transparent.  Sometimes I want to hide.  I'm embarrassing in my failures.  But how can I enjoy the healing and joy of Christian community and fellowship if I don't share these?  How can I bless others and become healthily interdependent if I don't share these struggles?

God didn't design His body to function as little islands where we promote positive thinking and anything negative will suck bad energy from the room.  He designed His body to be fueled and energized by our mutual cares, failings, struggles and victories.  We are meant to function transparently so that the body can be strengthened.  We are supposed to be transparent so that accountability can flow into our lives in a natural way, so that we are reticent to live as if no-one is watching.  It should be a joyful thing to know God always sees us - and sometimes a fearful thing.  Knowing He sees me lose it with my kids should send warning flashes through my mind.

 I shouldn't fear the unleashing of His wrath upon me (though I deserve it) but I should be reminded that He paid dearly for my sin of lack of self-control and do I want to abuse His gift by continuing to sin?

So, be transparent.

Don't live in fear.

Treat others as if the world is watching.  Even if they aren't, God is.

If you aren't willing to be transparent, just watch idolatry grow in your life.


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