There is an old joke that if you are cut-off while driving on Sunday it was probably by someone leaving church. This little adage always makes me chuckle, not because I want to make fun of my brothers and sisters in Christ, but rather I see it in myself every day.
The Indian Philosopher Bara Dada once said, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians, you are not like him.”
Considering the human condition, this is a fair quote and therein lies our trouble. Somewhere in our Christian lineage, we replaced the beauty of living a broken, contrite, and transparent life with living a “perfect life”. In the process, we unconsciously set up unobtainable goals for our families and ourselves, establishing our outward behaviors as the witness of Christ’s deity and work in our lives.
God’s economy is never what it seems, and since perfection will allude us this side of heaven, then perhaps the witness God seeks from us is not about us at all. Maybe, even though we are saved, being transparent with our continual need for God’s grace in our messy lives is a more accessible and real invitation. Why? Because it takes the focus off us and brings it back to where it belongs –on Christ.
In God’s goodness, we can always look to scripture to find direction. In this case, we don’t need to look further than our beloved apostles. Thomas’s doubt reassures us of God’s compassion and Peter’s denial represents the breath of God’s forgiveness. We also have Paul who admits, he does things he does not want to do, and James and John fighting over Jesus’ favor. These are great examples of living life in honest transparency, and because of their human frailties, we have hope in the God who transforms and molds our brokenness into vessels He can use. Isn’t that what God still asks of us today?
I will never forget when, as a brand new Christian, I received a message from a friend who had been walking with Christ for years. Her email was not only a note of apology but also a request for forgiveness. In her heart-felt words I saw the richness of her relationship with Christ, her dependency on His grace and the hope she had in Him that he would continue to transform her into His likeness. With her transparency she risked being seen differently by me but I can assure you just the opposite was true. Her courage to account for her shortcomings was the perfect witness of a surrendered and dependent life on Christ. In addition, as we both grew in Christ I watched her fall less and less which brought me great hope for my own struggles.
Imagine how the world might change if we invited others into our raw, real, difficult moments. If our posture was that of confessed brokenness instead of striving perfection? If we worried less about the man we should be, and shared more about the hope in the man we were becoming in Christ? I believe, we would grow stronger in community, walls would come down, and secrets hidden in the dark would find healing in the light of truth. It would be a contagious witness of the redeeming love of Christ.
A transparent life always puts us in a position of dispensing and/or receiving His grace. It is a beautiful relatable invitation; a witness without apology. We are all fall short of the glory of God and we are all in need of a Savior. (Romans 3:23)
This article was written by Rosey Brausen, producer of Afternoons with Bill Arnold.