We all hide. At times, we all live behind a veil of secrecy.
We pretend to know more than we know.
We act like we are better than we are.
We present only the presentable parts of our lives and feign a perfection that we do not possess.
Not yet. Not here. Not now.
So we fake it.
And from the beginning of humanity, our secrecy has been our ruin and our disgrace. Adam and Eve miserably failed and what’s the first thing they thought to do? Hide.
It’s in our nature to cover, to deny, to fake it with the hope that we might eventually succeed. We hide our sin. We conceal our struggles. We cover our inadequacies behind a mask of perfection.
Why do we hide?
- We are too proud to admit our defeats. Too arrogant to own our failures. Too stubborn to confess our weaknesses and our sins. Too egotistical to acknowledge the reality of our shortcomings. What would others think if they knew the real me?
- We are too afraid of potential rejection or too fearful of wrathful punishment if we were ever caught.
- Besides pride and fear, sadly, we sometimes hide because we find sordid and bizarre pleasure within the shadows. It’s fun (for a season). We enjoy our sin more than we imagined we might. It feels good. It satisfies a dark and perverse longing of the person we used to be before Christ. But our love of self and our delight in sin is the fruit of putting our needs and our desires above the needs of others and a desire for God. Tragically, if we choose to stay in the shadows, this shameful self-satisfaction never ends well.
So what’s the answer? Is there any value in living a humble, contrite, and transparent life?
Recently, I posted a guest blog by Dr. James Emery White. It was about sin, weakness, and the reality of human depravity.
James wrote, “As Christians, we are redeemed by Christ and engaged in the ongoing process of transformation; but we are sinners nonetheless. So what we do with our sin becomes the pivotal issue. This is where spiritual growth is won or lost. I don’t say this lightly, as if attempting to avoid sin is not significant. It is significant. But in our weakness and depravity we will fail, and it is at the moment of failure that we encounter one of life’s most defining moments—not simply moving past sin, but moving through it.”
I genuinely appreciate White’s transparency in admitting to his struggles as a human and as a pastor. Few leaders are secure enough in their identity in Christ to admit that they are still a work in progress.
And I would suggest that the path to “moving through sin” is discovered and experienced through transparency.
We must stop hiding.
Transparency is humbling (and humility is a good thing), but it is also comforting because you find out you are not alone in your struggle. For the record, being transparent with others doesn’t hinder your relationships, it enhances them.
Transparency is challenging, but as you confess your sins and struggles great things happen, and God begins to heal your soul.
Transparency is difficult, but that is where your freedom is found. Walking in the light is liberating.
If transparency is good (and it is), and if we all fail (and we do), then why hide? Why do we insist on pretending to be something we are not? Why do we waste so much energy on propping up a false image of ourselves? Why do we attempt to cover up our physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses?
Wouldn’t it be better to admit that . . .
- I am broken, but I am also being transformed, and my brokenness is not the end of the story when God is in the mix.
- I am weak, but God delights in me nonetheless. He is famous for showing His power through frail vessels like me (and you).
- I am far from perfect, but I am loved by the Father, and no thing, no one, and no physical, emotional, or spiritual imperfection can change the unending reality of His love.
- I limp and stumble and falter too often, but God will never give up on me, so why would I give up on myself or others?
I suggest that the more we know who we are in Christ and the deeper we understand His unquenchable love for us, the freer we are to admit to one another how puny we are and how great God is.
It’s okay to be authentic. It’s good to be honest. It’s always best to be real. Always.
Are you struggling with mental illness or a physical affliction? Welcome to planet earth.
Are you wrestling with sin and temptation? Welcome to the human race.
Are you afraid to admit to your past or present failures? Welcome to the club, and you are not alone. The Church is full of imperfect people.
Nevertheless, though transparency is sometimes terrifying and rarely easy, it is worth it. In fact, the only way to become the man or woman God wants you to become is to stop hiding.
A transparent soul has no secrets.