We’ve all had this experience: days, months, years later you find out that things were not as they seemed. The friend you thought was a rock was suffering greatly from mental illness, the boy you were head-over-heels for turned out to be hurtful and cruel, the acquaintance you thought was a snob turned out to be grounded and wise beyond her years. As Christians we are asked to cultivate a transparent life, but there are certain pieces that we will always keep hidden from all but the closest of friends. And everyone’s hiding, so why bother trying to rise above the intrigue? It’s like the old saying that goes something like: “Tell the truth. It’s easier to remember.” Transparency isn’t about living a boring life but a less complicated one.
So what are the things that can make life more opaque? For me the big one is gossip–no surprise there. It can lead me to second-guess people and dissemble when I’m around them. There’s also a lack of trustfulness, when I cease taking people at their word. Holding grudges and unforgiveness are big ones too. I dissemble most often when I worry what people will think of my answers to their questions. Do I dwell excessively on what other people think of me? Do I contort my representations of myself to meet what I think are their requirements or expectations?
There’s a deep longing in the human heart for intimacy, but this intimacy must be based in honesty. And if we need to be honest with people to be intimate with them, how much more do we need to cultivate an honesty with God?