Transparency: A Four-Letter Word

Transparency: a four-letter word.

A four-letter word? Really? Perhaps you read that and raised your eyebrows. Maybe your lip curled in disgust that I would dare liken a harmless word such as transparency to a cuss word.

Regardless, we often treat transparency and all that comes with it, with an attitude of disdain and fear. Why? We need it, yet we dread it. We are afraid of it or of what it may bring. So we treat transparency, in it’s raw and honest form, as taboo. Genuine, relational transparency seems like unnecessary or awkward territory to traverse, not only in our churches but in our personal relationships with people every single day.

Here’s a window inside…

When a friend comes to you and wants to share how she is struggling, she is afraid. She’s scared that when you realize there are cracks beneath her perfectly built fortress, you will discard her as quickly as you did your empty Starbuck’s cup this morning.

Or it could be you are shriveling up inside, dying to be able to share with someone about the hurts you are facing, yet you cannot bring yourself to share with anyone because of the possibility of rejection. The fear of vulnerability keeps you trapped in a web of insecurity.

Or maybe you know someone going through a miscarriage, the death of a loved one, depression, or divorce and you don’t know what to say?

Have we ever stopped to think that when we keep silent and face our struggles alone, we are ignoring God’s command to carry each other’s burdens and have our burdens carried? Here’s how God inspired Paul to write about this:

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:2-3)

We cannot deny that He has asked this of us, but we daily ignore it! We become so crazy busy with our lives, that the focus is on us, not on how we can be a community of believers loving and living life with each other.

Why do people fear honesty? When we are honest, we are opening up ourselves to growth and deeper relationships. We have to consider that we need to be ready to listen, not just share. There are others who need us to hear them.

Mother Teresa said: “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”

So lift up your mask and let the facade crumble.

We are at a crossroads where we need to ask ourselves these questions:

Can we be real?
Can we be brave?
Can we be true to who we are as children of the one and only King?

Most importantly, can we be women (and men) of faith who truly believe Jesus knows what He is taking about when He told us to bear one another’s burdens?

Say yes and launch off the ledge. He is strong enough to catch you and only in the falling will you find your freedom.

What to say to your hurting friends? Just listen as they share and be there for them.

When we realize we’re not enough is the moment we begin to learn He is enough.

When we turn the page beyond our own self-reliance is the moment we enter a new chapter of learning the love of Christ and His people…we need each other.

Author: Stephanie Breznau

Stephanie lives in North Carolina where she daily laughs with her three funny munchkins and handsome pastor husband (of 9 years) and thoroughly enjoys life. She loves reading British literature, watching sci-fi and Jane Austen movies, thrifting, drinking tea and coffee, and trying to sparkle as much as humanly possible. She is immensely grateful for the beautiful and grace-filled people who she and her husband are privileged to minister to through LifeChange Action and MissionTalk, two separate yet sister organizations engaged in innovative mission work in Mexico and India.

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1 Comment

  1. “Transparency” was my banner until I moved to a very small town about 6 years ago. Everyone there got triggered by the word. I defended the word (and got nowhere for it) until I met the sort of transparent people that the town was reacting to and thus triggered by. These people had the attitude of, “I’ll be transparent. [commence with detailed description of problems]. This is the way I am. Deal with it.”
    I love the idea of transparency that you refer to in this blog, but I didn’t know how to communicate it to people who were triggered by the “This is the way I am, deal with it” crowd, so I finally abandoned the word.
    It was Brene Brown that gave me a new word to communicate the actual idea: “vulnerability”. It helped people get past their triggering and understand what I was trying to say.
    Something to keep in mind if you run into the same thing.

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