What does it mean to be transparent?
The Merriam-Webster definition is 1) “having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly, fine or sheer enough to be seen through” or 2) “free from pretense or deceit, easily detected or seen through, readily understood, characterized by visibility or accessibility of information.”
Transmitting light. Clearly seen. Free from pretense. Free from deceit. Easily detected. Readily Understood. Characterized by visibility.
These are all qualities we desperately need in the body of Christ.
We call ourselves “Christians” – and we’ve painted an image of what a “Christian” looks like… But our image doesn’t reflect the Christ we represent. Our Christ was transparent. He was light. He was life. He was truth. He told His followers, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus was real. He was honest. He withheld nothing. He lived to please no one but the Father. The religious leaders scorned and ridiculed Him, but God delighted Him and declared over Him, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
To look at Jesus was to see God.
When the disciples asked, “Lord, show us the Father.” Jesus boldly declared, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). That’s the definition of transparency. That’s how well Jesus represented the Father. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, then should we not strive to live just as transparent?
If we are representing light, then why is there still so much darkness in the world?
If we are representing truth, then why is there still so much deceit in the world?
It is because we have our light hid under a bushel, and we’ve concealed the truth behind a mask. We’re afraid to be seen, afraid to be known. But in our fears, we’ve blocked the world from seeing and knowing who Christ truly is.
Hiding has never been easier than it is now.
Masks have never been as accessible as they are now.
We live in a world where we create the life we want to portray to the world. We only post the pictures we want people to see, and we only share the stories we want people to read. We photoshop and shape our image to meet our standards – ignoring the fact that God Himself, in all His Glory, created and shaped us into His image. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but what God sees as wonderful, we see as woeful – so we hide it away. We literally conceal and make-up our faces, and filter our memories. We delete what we don’t want, and edit what we want to change. We pick and choose, cut and paste, move around and re-arrange. We, the created and formed, try to take on the job of creating and forming.
We are the work of God’s hands, not the other way around. He is the Potter, and we are the clay, but we’ve tried to shift the roles. Romans 9:20-21 says, “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”
Special is purposeful.
Common is useful.
God has a plan and a purpose for every aspect of our lives. We may not always understand His ways, but we have to trust His will. And in order to stay in His will, we must stay on His wheel. When we neglect the process of the Potter, we slow the progress of the clay. The Potter is powerful enough to create the most beautiful of masterpieces from the most broken of messes. When Jeremiah went down to the potter’s house and saw him working at the wheel, God revealed a powerful message to him. Jeremiah 18:3-6 says, “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.'”
Like marred clay in the hand of the Potter, so are we.
I heard it said once, “There is nothing more beautiful than to be broken in the arms of the Savior.” These words ring so true in my life. Some of the most beautiful moments in my life have been moments of brokenness. We need to learn to embrace the beauty of our brokenness. Brokenness brings us together like nothing else can. It unites us with other broken people who share our same sorrows and bear our same burdens. More importantly, brokenness brings us closer to the Savior by awakening our need for His presence and power in our lives.
We live in a broken world, but if the world never knows we’ve been broken then how will they ever know we’ve been healed?
Without transparency, how can we relate to the brokenness of others? How can we bear one another’s burdens? How can we comfort and encourage one another? How can we give hope if we never share our hurt?
How can we ever live out the Gospel if we never extend the Grace that was given to us?
This world needs truth.
This world needs transparency.
There are broken people in the world who need to see through your healing, past your heart, and to your hurt. They need to see Jesus through it all – to see the hand of the Potter at work.
Don’t stand still. Don’t keep quiet.
Don’t let fear hold you captive. Don’t let shame hide your face.
Share your brokenness. Share it boldly. Share it beautifully.
At the communion table, Jesus broke the bread so He could give it away. At the cross, Jesus, the Bread of Life, was broken so He could be given away.
The word “communion” in the original Greek language is “koinoia” which means “sharing in common.” When we break the bread and drink the wine of communion, we are sharing in the suffering of Christ. The cross ties us together by a common bond. We have all sinned. We all fall short of the glory of God. We all know the death, disease, and destruction that comes as a result of the sinfulness of this world. We are not alone in our brokenness. We are not alone in our shame, nor in our sorrow.
The word “koinoia” also translates to “fellowship” – and transparency is what makes deep fellowship possible. True fellowship requires transparency, and true transparency requires confession.
Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…”
Confession is an act of surrender. It is opening yourself up to receive mercy, opening yourself up to receive healing.
I challenge you to be more transparent. Find someone to confide it. Confess whatever sins and struggles you are facing right now. Expose your weakness to find your strength. Tear down the walls of your pride to build trust and find peace. Take off the mask you created and learn to embrace your true identity in Christ. Let go of everything that holds you back and weighs you down. Stop playing games and pretending to be someone God never intended you to be. There is freedom in surrender.
Don’t be afraid to make yourself known. When you lay down the burden of hiding and pretending, you will discover the joy of simply being. Be loved. Be who God has called you to be. No more shame, no more fear.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
– Ephesians 1:3-10