why aren’t we transparent?

In Brennan Manning’s book, “The Importance of Being Foolish” he writes some great questions that are well worth pondering.


Why don’t our contagious joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude infect others with a love for Christ? Why doesn’t the radiant loveliness of the Lord stream from our personalities? Why aren’t we windows to God at work? Why aren’t we transparent?


Transparency. This is a great word for describing the way Jesus lived and interacted while on the earth. It’s part of why he was so compelling and at the same time so infuriating to many. You knew where he stood, what he thought, what he was about.

Well, sort of.

Jesus was confusing to many and they misinterpreted him often. Usually not because he was speaking so enigmatically that they couldn’t grasp it, but because the assumption was he wasn’t speaking plainly. His truthfulness was so disarming. Admittedly, some of what he said was way over their heads—and ours—but often the plain truth he spoke was missed because the people around thought he couldn’t possibly mean what it sounded like he meant.

As followers of Jesus, with full forgiveness and acceptance from Christ we have every reason to live the same way. Fully honest, nothing to hide, an open book, so to speak. But so often it isn’t the case. We still live with walls and piles of stuff we feel we have to hide from those around us. Hidden agendas, secret questions, motives we mask. They still dominate our lives and inhibit our experience with the Prince of Wholeness. But Why?

A few lines later Manning gives his take on for our lack of transparency.

Often our preoccupation with the three most basic human desires—security, pleasure, and power—is the cloak that covers transparency.

Security, pleasure, power. Jesus offers us these in their pure and gentle forms. Their perfect forms. But much of the time we seem to prefer, or at least default to, the tainted versions of these that we create.

Building our own security, seeking our own forms of pleasure, conquering for our own piece of the power. This becomes the norm. And with it, the loss of personal transparency.

When Jesus says that he came so we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10) He is saying, “I will give you all the security, all the pleasure, all the power, you need. I will give you the freedom to live transparently, without the need to hide yourself. The decision is ours: Will we take it? Will we live transparently?


What freedoms do I give up in my own pursuit of security, pleasure, and power?


How transparent am I?


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