Monday, November 28, 2011

Being transparent

One rule of life is that the inward effects the outward. Just as light shines from a central source into the darkest corners, so also do the attitudes of the heart radiate outward into life, good or bad, true or false.

On occasion, people put defenses up to hide what is going on in the inside. Some live most of their lives that way, yet inner stuff comes out, if not in words, it affects health or activities. The entire Bible tells stories of those whose inner lives became the motivation for great sin or in some cases, great godliness.

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1–4)
These verses today are John’s response to Gaius, a person that had no layers. He was healthy in soul because he had truth and walked in it. This news gave John great joy for he was a man also given to truth and walking in truth.

As I read and think about what he says, I think about the people with whom I have a transparent relationship. No layers. No pretense about who and what we are or think. When we slip, we pull each other up. When we speak, we know that the words come from the heart. We trust each other. There is no greater joy than this kind of relationship.

It begins with Jesus. He already knows everything about me. If I have layers, He sees through them and loves me anyway. This eliminates any reason to pretend. I can share my heart with Him as with no one else. I can also know that all He says and does is from a pure and unadulterated heart. He is truth and all that He says and does is true and good.

The New Testament tells what happens when others meet disciples of Christ and experience this transparency of life.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
These men were open books, without pretense and without hiding who and what they were like, yet in seeing then, others knew that they were disciples of Jesus Christ. That hidden life of Christ (for He comes in and lives at the deepest part, the core of who we are) was visible. These men walked with Jesus in truth, and because they hid nothing about themselves, people could see both their common state and the fact that Jesus had a profound effect on their lives.

Sometimes this transparency creates a problem. Most of us want to be looked up to, admired, respected and so on. But being myself may mean occasional total silliness, or outbursts of raw emotion, or a display of ignorance, or making known all my inabilities and foibles. What then? A well-known evangelist once said that when she is trying to be like Jesus, all people saw was her, but when she was just herself, people said they could see Jesus in her.

This is the nature of transparency. In revealing who I am, in peeling off all protective layers, I feel vulnerable — or even like a total idiot. Yet if that is what God uses to reveal Jesus in me to others, then I must walk in the truth of who I am, warts and all.

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Jesus, walking in truth means just that. If I am not true to You, then I do not walk in truth. Yet if I am not true to who I am at any given moment, I’m not walking in truth either. Pride and fear put up barriers to transparency. Your grace, Your humble heart, and Your assurance of love and acceptance take them down. May I walk in truth today.

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