The man told them his darkest secret. He had a problem with pornography.
Not a secret, really. He’d told others. But these were teens.
I wondered: Would parents call? Complain? Remove their kids from his supervision?
They didn’t. They knew something I did not know.
I was witnessing something I had seldom seen: transparency.
It’s when we let others see what makes us stumble–what our personal struggle is–the part we wish didn’t exist and we hope no one would ever know about.
But here he was spilling the chili beans out in the open right on the carpet for all to see.
Then I began to see. Kids opened up about their own struggles. Not right then and there, but over time. They were honest. They were transparent–just as he had been.
They could tell their own secrets because they felt safe. There was no perfect person who would look shocked, be offended, and see them differently forever. There was acceptance from another who struggles also.
Transparency is necessary to fulfill a biblical command: Bear one another’s burdens.
How else can we ever overcome such trials? The burden is too heavy to bear alone. We were never meant to carry it alone. We were meant to share its weight.
To carry the trials of others and have them help us in carrying ours.
Pride shows itself when we don’t want to let others know what’s goes on inside us. We don’t want to admit our envy or problem with porn–or food–or anger. We don’t want someone else to see who we really are. But when we shut them away from our true selves, they have no one to show themselves to.
The masks we wear get heavy too.
And that is how Christians become isolated. And that is how our burdens weigh us down over years.
My struggles usually involve anger or food. You don’t want to be the telemarketer who sets me off on the wrong day. Over the years, I find the frequency of my need to apologize is reduced–but not ended. Walking a straighter path, I still stumble.
And food. How much time do I spend thinking about how I feel? Tired. Excited. Afraid. Wounded. Happy. Food is good for drowning our sorrows and fabulous for celebrating just about anything. Anything.
Chocolate works especially well. But any sort of sugary treat makes me feel better–or good for a short time. So much better than I just don’t want to stop.
I want to extend the good feelings.
Especially the ones I get from chocolate–until my stomach is in pain. And even then, just a little bit more.
Here is who I am. If you struggle thusly, I’m walking your way.
I know I am not alone.
You are not alone either.
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9 Replies to “Transparency: A Necessary Quality”
Great post on transparency. Not an easy thing to do because of embarrassment.
Minor suggestion–I wonder if identifying the man’s occupation might be a good detail to add.
Thank you, Christopher.
Great post my sister, your content is always great to read and always thought provoking. I was always learn new things from your writing. God Bless.
Thank you! God bless!
How did you know chocolate was my weakness? I eat exactly 2 pure dark chocolate Hersey’s kisses a day. No more, no less. I do not want anything mixed in with my chocolate, no caramel, no nuts, nothing! Even when doctors tell me I need to gain weight, I stick to 2 Hersey’s kisses. I eat mixed nuts as a snack around 3 PM each day, but still do not gain weight.
Thanks for participating, Jeanette. Keeping control is important. You have an unusual problem in needing to gain weight. Have you tried adding other snacktimes?
I am currently listening to The Human Longevity Project, about healthy living, aging, centenarians, what food and exercise and activities help us. Many of the indigenous people interviewed eat natural foods from their own fields. They eat fruit from their own trees. They cook local food. And they don’t worry about weight or sugar or fat or a Paleo diet or Keto diet. Nobody talked about chocolate but lately chocolate has been seen as healthy – dark chocolate, low in sugar and only a few small pieces.
Transparency is so helpful for developing close friendship and an intimate romantic relationship – instead of game playing and judgement and blame and criticism.
It helps me to hear that you get angry. I focus on love, teach about it, strive to be more loving – and yet I am often so impatient and sometimes easily angered – but I do get off the attitude quickly but it does still exist.
We can’t help having negative emotions at times. We are broken and fallen beings. Indigenous people seldom have access to the forms and quantities of sugar that we can consume daily. But, as you say, we would do well to learn from them. Perhaps a key is to purchase only small amounts instead of the 16-ounce package–especially of chocolate. Transparency is needed in romance and beyond so that we might bear each other’s burdens and help each other along the way.
Thanks for reading and contributing to the discussion in such a great way! God bless!
There is emotional healing in being transparent and sharing with others. Meaningful discussion.