Are you transparent, or are you the invisible transparent Christian man?
One definition of invisible is not perceptible by the eye.
One definition of transparent is open; frank; candid.
So what I’m really asking is, as a Christian man, are you open and candid in a way that’s recognized and perceived by others in your life.
In a recent podcast interview with Kurt Kondrich, I chose to be very transparent about a big sin from my past.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve “come clean” with that part of my past and my testimony, but it was the first time I did so in such a public forum.
It was a bit uncomfortable and I guess you could say embarrassing to do this, but it was also healing for me in some ways, and I’d like to think it was helpful to one or more man that might hear it.
Around the same time, I heard an interview with Glennon Doyle Melton who blogs at momastery.com. She is well known for, and has been very successful being what you might call brutally honest about herself and her struggles in life, past and present.
Though I haven’t really read Glennon’s blog, I have read and heard on K-Love a number of commentaries from Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries. She seems to take a similar approach, which is well described by a phrase I saw on their blog “We aren’t perfect. We aren’t plastic. We aren’t afraid to get real. We love Jesus”.
Men Have a Hard Time With Transparency
It strikes me that men in general, and I think Christian men in particular, have a harder time being transparent than do women, both at work as well as at home and in other areas of our lives.
This might be something genetic in our makeup, some part of manhood that God placed inside of us, that makes this true.
It may also be to some degree environmental. As men, we are expected to perform, lead, provide, and deliver in ways that can tend to make us always want to put our best foot forward, to a fault.
Of course, taken to the extreme we can actually be lying by presenting ourselves as something we’re not, or omitting important truths about ourselves.
Humility Is Key
I think humility is a big part of what it means to be transparent.
There are different definitions for humility, but I think the most striking way to describe humility is it’s antonym (opposite), which is pride.
The Bible is loaded with cautions against pride, and I think pride can be a real motivating factor when we try to “put on airs” or pretend our poop doesn’t stink.
The Sweet Spot Is In the Middle, But Where’s the Middle?
Like most things in life, I think the sweet spot is in the middle, or the moderate approach.
Divulging every last sordid detail of our lives may make others uncomfortable and not accomplish much.
On the other hand, the “moderate middle” may be a lot more on the “transparent” side than where we’re at if we’re used to trying to be someone we’re not.
If we’re afraid to tell difficult truths about our dark side we can become very self centered. By keeping certain sins secret, we can give them more power than they might have if we exposed them and began the repentant and healing process.
It’s probably helpful to remember what was said by the man that Jesus said was the greatest man ever born, John the Baptist.
Speaking of Jesus, John said “He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30 (NKJV)
Talking about our faults might seem to be focusing on ourselves, but I think that when we’re humbly acknowleding our flaws, our mistakes, our sins, particularly the “big ones”, we ultimately are diverting attention from our “goodness” and toward Jesus the only one who doesn’t have any flaws or sin.
So the next time we are afraid someone might find out the dirty truth about us or admit that we’re wrong at work, to our wife or to our kids, we may as well beat them to the punch and be transparent, and see what good things can happen as a result.