If I write about myself, I inherently offer a view into my personal world. Some stories I share, though they may be a little embarrassing, because I think they offer an explanation for a truth that might otherwise have been missed.
But there are some things about my life that I will never put in print ………….
Never ……….. ever……….
This goes counter to the current wave of many Christians who want to be “transparent” in their experiences. I hate that word in this context. While you’re at it, you can add “vulnerable” to that pot. Two Christian clichés that in my opinion are badly misused. No one is truly transparent or vulnerable; they expose themselves only to the degree to which they feel comfortable.
I have a simple explanation to my objection to being “transparent” – it isn’t biblical. Nowhere in scripture are followers of Christ instructed to make public the details of their grotesque sins. The practice of confession has always been personal and private.
1 John 1:9 ESV – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
James 5:16 ESV – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Proverbs 28:13 ESV – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Psalm 32:5 ESV – I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Confession is not only commanded, it is necessary. Without it there can be no repentance, without repentance there can be no salvation. But none of the verses above suggest that it is appropriate to announce details in public. Confession in scripture is always presented in a small setting or directly to God.
So why the popularity in being “transparent?”
I think it is a result of the grace movement of which I am a huge proponent. Grace is a wonderful thing!! It is God’s willingness to overlook and remove the punishment of our sins, though we don’t deserve it. Grace is the extra gift of strength that God gives to help us endure difficulty. However, it is not a license to parade vulgarity, insinuating that it is okay because we are “under grace.”
Verses like Romans 5:20-21 where Paul wrote, “where sin increased, grace increased even more” have somehow been twisted to mean that if I tell you every disgusting thing that I think, it will help you be a better Christian. Or even worse, that it’s okay to sin because we can’t out-sin God’s grace. Huh? You might want to check out Hebrews 10:26-31
That is not the biblical definition of grace.
But, you say, “To admit weakness is a sign of strength.”
Yes, I agree. It is good if you recognize the true depth of your depravity and can openly admit it to others. But when an experienced Christian who has a solid foundation in their faith shares sordid details about their private sins to a broad spectrum of listeners that might include a weaker believer, all they have done is give that weaker friend an opportunity to try a new sin. That is not what the church was built for nor what Paul instructed us to do.
What ever happened to attaining a higher goal, rising to the occasion?
What did Paul say?
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Ephesians 5:1 (ESV)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
So I encourage you to confess your sins, to be open and honest with yourself, or be “transparent” if that’s what you want to call it. But only in the proper place ………. with God, your pastor, or with a close, personal friend. Then, focus on living a life that is honorable and commendable. Beyond that, you are outside the bounds of scripture.
Nuff said ……… I’m stepping off my soapbox now.
Let’s go make a fresh pot of something good to get our day off with a spark.