Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Truth About Transparency

"I slept with a midget stripper."

Have I got your attention? LOL

This was the show description that I saw flash across my television screen quickly today as I aimlessly flipped through the channels with the remote. Are you wondering what type of cable daytime program would have this type of subject? Two words - Jerry Springer. Yes, that explains it, I know. And the worst part is, that on some days, the sub-titles for the show content are even worse.

I would rather have my arm twisted off than be caught watching Jerry Springer. Please believe me when I say that I DO NOT watch this show. I was merely channel surfing, and saw the show sub-title as I flipped past it.

But you know what? Every time I flip past that show (quickly, I might add), my heart sinks a little. I think of the broken and beaten down people (sometimes literally) that agree to appear as guests on that show. I think of the betrayal and heartbreak that the show guests always seem to have endured. I think of the embarrassment that they surely are suffering from during the show, much less the emotional torment they probably deal with afterwards as they try to pick up the pieces of the damaged goods of their life.

I will never understand for the life of me why anyone would voluntarily agree to be on this show, and air out all of their dirtiest laundry and heartbreak, in front of the whole world.

As my mind tried to wrap itself around some feasible reason of why people would subject themselves to this torture and embarrassment, I thought about how God tells us to be transparent with our lives, so that we can glorify Him with our experiences.

I thought about how sad it is that the thousands of people who appear as guests on this show, day after day, year after year, are so desperately seeking truth, peace and happiness, but looking for it in all the wrong places. I considered how these people are often desperately seeking revenge as well, and how their passion for justice brings them to the lowest of all lows, on public display for all to see.

The Bible tells us that if we are willing to serve God with our whole hearts, that we have to be willing to lay aside pride and shame, and embrace mercy and grace instead. And I remember Romans 8:28, where we are assured that all things can be used to Gods glory if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone.

But does God mean to get on national television and tell the whole world our secrets? Is that the type of transparency God is talking about? Does it make God happy for people to announce their sin, or the sins of others, to the world and allow other people ample time and opportunity to judge, scorn, and ridicule? Do you think God is pleased when the people who committed sins against others are publicly humiliated?

Of course not. This emotional and mental torment is far, far from anything that God would intend for anyone. He loves me and you, and the people on the Jerry Springer show, and it must make Him sad to see this type of thing going on, as if the audience members held some power and authority to judge and scorn; and as if the accused are worthy of no opportunity for grace and mercy.

When God mentions being willing to share openly and honestly with others, He means it for good. Pure goodness. Loving goodness. Learning goodness. Living goodness.

Lets get real, and admit that the thought of being truly transparent for Christ might cause us to fear that we may risk temporarily feeling much like a Jerry Springer guest. The truth is that we may be ridiculed. We may be embarrassed. We may be ashamed. We may have people judge us. We may have words thrown at us (but not chairs), and we may feel broken.

But the difference between transparency for Christ, and false transparency, is that after it is all said and done, holy transparency will cause you to feel redeemed. You WILL feel restored. You WILL feel freed. You WILL feel empowered. You WILL feel peace.

There is no peace in anyones hearts when these JS shows are over and done with. And as for Jerry Springers heart, I pray God is able to reach him one day, so that he will recognize the long term damage he is encouraging in the lives of people who so obviously need a Savior to call upon, not a stage to fall upon.

Removing the veils from our faces so that we can be a light for Christ sometimes means we must open ourselves up to the possibility of embarrassment, but all for the sake of Christ; to lay down our lives for Him as a testament to what He has done in our life; and to lead other people to Christ through our transparency, which makes us even more beautiful than ever before.

If you have been scared to share your past experiences, secrets or sins with anyone because you are scared of feeling like a guest on the Jerry Springer show, I want to encourage you to seriously pray about what it is that God might have you do. You see, God gives us our experiences, good and bad, embarrassing and enlightening, to glorify Him - but if we are not willing to share those experiences with others, then the suffering, and learning, was all for nought.

We are all called to a life of transparency, but only when we are ready, willing and waiting to share our gratitude for the grace that we have been given with someone who needs it just as much as us.

How grateful are you today for the grace you have been given?

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5 comments:

Joyful said...

Oh Tracie, I am so thankful for grace. The words to a song come to mind,

"Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I'd be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace"

My friend Elaine posted on this very topic of transparency just yesterday. Powerful post. You might like to read it. The post is entitled, "The Purest Place" (http://www.peaceforthejourney.com/2009/10/purest-place.html)

Being real,
Joy

Rachel B said...

Thank you for this, Tracie. Very well written...and real. :)

Angie said...

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be transparent about my life, I would have said a very strong "No Way!" And being transparent is something I NEVER would have done because of the shame, embarrassement and the judgement I just knew would come.

But this was a place of bondage that Satan had me in. Always causing doubt in my mind. Always keeping my friendships at arms length because anyone that got close may find out. Always reminding me of the shame and what my be said if I opened up to anyone.

God began working on my heart and through a series of events brought me to a place that I did open up to someone. Oh I was scared because of what I thought would come next. But it didn't happen. I wasn't judge, ridiculed or even made to feel horrible.

I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my back that I had carried for too long.

I had someone share their own past regret with me but then encouraged me to know that God has forgiven me and now it was time to forgive myself.

It wasn't a process that happened over night because I had a lot of comfort zones that I needed to step out of. But I felt free and over the last few months I have found peace.

I can't change what happened but I can grow from it. My story will probably remain a private one until God sends that one person that needs to hear it and I can share how He change my life. How He renewed my faith in Him and has brought me into a relationship with Him.

I am learning to live a life out from under the masks. I am learning to live a life of transparency so that the past years were not done for nought!

Thank you for this reminder to keep stepping out of the comfort zones!

David G Carpenter said...

Hi Tracie,
I have been saying recently: "We are entering into an age of transparency" And we are. No one can do anything without it becoming known. We see headlines of another businessmen going to prison for their actions daily; politicians also. With the internet and video camera phones, the age of having and keeping secrets has past.
What is occurring is the beginnings of an "Age of Enlightenment", and just as Angie shared, when we are willing to be honest with All of Whom we are, we attain that feeling of freedom that fear has kept us in bondage to for far too long.
Jesus said: (Paraphrasing) "The truth will set you free" and when we are willing to speak the truth of who we are it does indeed free us.
My experience is: It frees us to be more loving, joyous, compassionate, caring - all those qualities that are coming from the truth of who we are: A Loving spark of God created in His/Her loving image, as He/She is.
I celebrate life daily. I am grateful for all my blessings. And I remember to give thanks to my creator each day for this joyous gift of life.
Namaste,
David

Anonymous said...

The show is staged... they pay these people to act. If you have ever seen a few mins of this revolting show you will see they are fake.