In response to my post yesterday, I was told that transparency trumps significance. Okay, I can believe that....but only sometimes. For me, transparency begs the following question: Do we as Christians really want people to be transparent with us? And how do we respond when they are?
I'm not always transparent with people. (That's an honest, transparent statement.) I have several reasons for that. The lighter ones include that I don't think people really want me to be, that they don't really want to hear what's going on in my life, or they don't care. Other times, I just don't want to talk about it. Deeper down, I'm not transparent because I'm afraid of being judged, I'm afraid of what people think, I'm afraid of rejection. Sometimes, I even fail to be transparent with those closest to me, not for fear that they won't love me, but for fear of hurting or disappointing them.
To be honest, I don't always respond well when people are transparent with me. Some Christians have no problem being open about where they're at, and it's not always in a pretty place. I'm not sure how to deal with people when they have an ongoing struggle with the same thing and can't get over it. Sometimes, I have damaged relationships, because I couldn't accept a friend's transparency and hurt them instead. In short, I don't always want to see transparency in others. Sometimes, I'd much rather believe the mask they put on to hide what I'd rather not see.
When people are transparent with us, how do we respond? Rather, how should we respond? What do we say when they confess the gross, ugly sin they've been hiding for years? For starters, if we expect transparency, we have to put on love and cut the judgement. That doesn't mean we have to be okay with everything. Love is not okay with sin, but it doesn't join the ranks of the haters either. Author Kevin Abell has excellent insight on what love really looks like and I hope to share that with you in the future.
For me, I have been able to be transparent with a few people about sin in my life and receive love. No, they didn't tell me I was okay. Quite the opposite. But I never felt judged by them. They asked me straight questions that demanded honest answers. And that's what I needed at the time. I needed accountability, as unpleasant as it sometimes was. Those were the real friends.
You might be among the number who can't stand fakers and people acting like they have it altogether when their life is really a mess. Or maybe you've been there. I have. But before you ask people for transparency, ask yourself whether or not you want it. And ask yourself how you will respond. Chances are, the people in your life don't want to be transparent for the same reasons you don't.