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Monday, May 19, 2014

The Transparency of the Christian Life

A friend was just telling me about a sermon that she had heard this past Sunday. Her pastor preached on transparency, which, I believe you will agree, is a good thing, either way! Whether a person is transparently good or transparently bad, transparency is always a good thing!

Is it better for a person to be totally honest about their wickedness upfront, or for a person to look good on the outside, yet to be full of dead men's bones on the inside? Would you rather wait for a person to prove their wickedness at some point down the road, in which case pain will most like occur, or see their wickedness right off, and save yourself that pain?

On the other hand, wouldn't it be awesome if we could see right away if a person was who he or she said they were? If people could be trusted to act exactly as they claimed to believe, or practice what they preach, imagine the kind of life we would have! The world would be a better place, methinks, if people acted transparently: then we would know more precisely who we could and couldn't trust with our most precious possessions!

Covenant life should be transparent, not to the point that we have no privacy, but so that it is readily evident to those with whom we come in contact that we are who we say we are, and that we are good & trustworthy! Anyone with whom we have to do, should immediately be able to sense that there is undeniably something different about you, something which is good to the very core! If we make a claim to be something we're not, and later someone ( or everyone ) finds out who we really are, then how much harm have we done to the Reputation of the One that we claim to be?!

One might say that non-transparency is the spice of life, and in some instances they could be right! Sometimes it is a good thing to be pleasantly surprised, to not judge a book by its cover, and to find a diamond or a pearl of great price underneath a rough but sturdy exterior, like a rose that's almost hidden by the thorns! A person may be quite unpresentable on the outside, but the most genuinely loving & caring individual on the inside, and this is sometimes the case, but most often, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck; it is a duck!

On the other hand, though, the surprise is not so pleasant when the pleasantly refined & beautiful exterior reveals the monster inside! When the one that we trusted with our most precious possessions turns out to be truly unworthy of our trust, then depending on who & what all is involved, a veritable flood of pain comes crashing down, most often leaving behind an almost irreparable wreck!

Whether the person in question, then, turns out to be good or bad, pleasant or evil, it is a good thing to be able to tell right away if they are worth the investment. Sometimes, one whom we thought was a diamond turns out to be a mere lump of coal, or a rose turns out to be nothing but a thorn-bush. But then there are those who, though rough around the edges, and not much to look at, turn out to be the best friend or lover that we could ever wish!

Surprise is very often the spice of life, but sometimes it's more like bitter herbs to those who live by it! Better to live transparently as the People of God than to live dishonestly, knowing that you may inadvertently be causing a world of pain to those you claim to love best! If you truly love as you are loved, let the object of that love, as it were, see right through you, and if they still love you, do your utmost to keep that love!

To myself more than anyone,
Charles Haddon Shank

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