As a Christian, one of the things I find the most difficult is being transparent. Most of the time it is much easier to wear the “I’ve got it all together” mask than it is to be real with those around me. This is especially true when you find yourself in a position of leadership. The irony of all of this is that it is not at all biblical. In fact, the bible is very candid about the imperfections of mankind as a whole. From Genesis to Revelation, there are countless instances in the bible of human beings making terrible decisions, suffering trials and tribulations, struggling with depression, disappointment, anger, frustration and the list goes on and on.
The apostle Paul was not one to sugar-coat his thoughts on any subject. Here is an example:
“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.” 2 Corinthians 11:22-30 (New Living Translation)
In this passage, he gives a few examples of the things he suffered while service of the Lord. The rest of the chapter is a very strong expression of Paul’s feelings toward the members of the Corinthian church. My point is, many times we find ourselves trying to always put our best face on for those around us. We walk around with only our strengths on display. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a good place in life, having joy or being positive. Our lights were designed to be shown to the world. However, the error is in the hiding of the scars given to us by life. Many non-believers feel that walking with God only for those who have already obtained some level of perfection. This misconception leads the non-believer to discount themselves as a candidate for a relationship with Jesus. Sometimes, the most powerful thing you can do as a child of God is to show your scars to the world. Jesus exemplified this after He appeared to the disciples, post resurrection.
“One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.” John 20:24-28 (New Living Translation)
If Jesus kept His scars and used them to minister to someone, why shouldn’t we follow suit?
How do you feel about showing your scars? How do you think your life would change if you were more transparent, with yourself and with others? How would it affect those around you?
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 KJV