Revealing that a favorite song comes from the 60s doesn’t necessarily date me as ancient. One of my high school students also loves “I am a Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel--his parents play it all the time. But for years, my theme was the line, “and a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.”
The safety of being a rock came from my fear of being known, of being rejected or judged, of being hurt or disappointed. So, I played it safe and let few inside. That verged on sliding into hypocrisy—knowingly and intentionally portraying a person I knew I wasn’t. By the way, that’s why many reject following Jesus. Not that we aren’t perfect, but we pretend to be.
Problems from that abound, partly we never know our real identity, or what false persona we portrayed to each person we encounter. We get lost in our make believe world. We also short circuit any meaningful relationships. I got that a lot.
But a totally unexpected consequence accompanied returning to Christ at 23. For the first time, I saw myself as a person of worth, apart from my performance. If God saw me like that, and if he knows more than we do, then maybe he knew something I couldn’t conceive of. That began a slow process (OK, like a glacier melting in the midst of an Ice Age) of moving into transparency. A volunteer editor, Suzanne Deschidn, for my book Not a Safe God kept pushing me to open up more. And more. And more. That was tough.
Transparency still scares me. Others still sometimes wound me when I am. Still, I’m committed to that process as an issue of faith. JB Phillips paraphrased James 5:16 as, “get in the habit of admitting your sins to each other and praying for each other.”
The original word for hypocrite came from Greek actors in large theaters who held a mask of comedy or tragedy in front of their face. It’s time to drop them.
Kick Starting the Discussion
Where are you on that continuum of transparency and being a rock? Why? Are you content with that? What keeps you from opening up more? If you follow Jesus, how does your faith guide your transparency? What most intrigues you about becoming more transparent?