The Healing Power of Transparency

Wednesday, April 09, 2014 @ 1:27 PM

In churches across America a great lie is perpetrated virtually every Sunday by virtually every Christian. We are greeted by another Christian, who says, “Good morning! How are you?” And the usual response is “good” or some variation indicating that all is well. But how often are things not well and yet we still answer “good”? How often do we hide our true feelings and our true self for the sake of appearances? How often do we wear a mask?  One of the greatest truths that I have learned in my quest for emotional and spiritual healing is the value of being transparent. When we hide our true feelings we are in a state of denial and we close the door to help that is available to us---often from the person who is asking us, “How are you?”

Transparency is defined as being characterized by visibility or accessibility of information. Another powerful definition is free from pretense or deceit.  In 2 Chronicles 29:1-3, Hezekiah begins his 29 year reign over Jerusalem. His first mission in power was to cleanse the temple. As a starting point of cleansing the temple, the bible says that he “opened the doors” (verse 3). As simple as that detail is, it brought me so much revelation. I don’t think he opened the doors to let people in, but rather to initially get things out that didn’t need to be there anymore. His opening of the doors was to expose the bad as a means of getting rid of it. In exposing and getting rid of the bad, it left room for a new wave of good to take its place. In the next few verses, he lays things out on the table with the priests and Levities. He acknowledges the past wrong doings and speaks on the new that will soon take place.

From this, I learned that in order to move forward I must “open the doors”. I must lay it all out on the table---no matter how nasty or ugly. And the doors must be opened not just before man, but more importantly, before God. Transparency isn’t about “telling everyone our business,” it’s about being done with hiding sin, hurt, mistakes, and disappointments. It is meant to empower us to be honest with God and ourselves. It’s about stepping out of the darkness into the light of God’s love. Leaving things in secret allows those things to control us from the inside out. Secrets left in the dark recesses of our soul produce fear, resentment, bitterness, and hatred---often leading to life controlling problems like addictions, codependency, anxiety, and depression. Transparency brings freedom and healing! 1 John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Being transparent means taking a risk. It requires taking a step in faith and being willing to be real with another person or persons. Small group settings in churches and in 12-step recovery groups are excellent places to start this process. In those groups are caring people who are accepting of others and who have taken that step of faith themselves. These groups also are a safe place to start because they encourage anonymity and confidentiality. Their group mantra is “what we say here let it stay here.”

Take a step in faith and be real with God and with others. It will be the first step in a healing process that will bring lasting change and lasting hope!

*Carl Nicklas, MA MAR