Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Truth and Transparency by Tony Manley

How are truth and transparency related? Both start with the sound /tr/ (sorry, I teach little people and I see way too many details in words and sounds ☺) and both are given as foundational needs/requirements from God to live life in freedom, peace, and joy.

Lately, I have felt surrounded by the effects of a broken world – sin that spills over from the secret places of the heart. Ugly thoughts grow into ugly words that grow into ugly behaviors (the life process of sin James 1:15). The amazing and sad aspect of this process often comes from those who have been rescued, redeemed, adopted, and forgiven by the very One who can change thoughts, words, and behaviors! Marriages, friendships, parent-child relationships, churches are all ending in way too much brokenness - dissolved. In my simple-minded thinking, the truth of “one step outside the will or way of God is the far country” (spoken by our pastor this Sunday in reference to the prodigal son) is one step too far.  “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be made known.”  (Lk. 12:2)

Basically, the truth is I cannot live a secret hearted life without being made transparent at some point. The secrets in my heart – unforgiveness, discontentment, criticizing ways, weariness, or just ignoring the Holy Spirit’s voice – will be brought out. I can begin to see the bringing out of these secrets in my speech and if not dealt with well at the thought or speech level, then I assure you my behavior will “out” me!

As the principle of truth and transparency is swirling around me, I have observed several broken marriages, broken ministries because of behaviors toward others that were “excused” because at least one side would not bow in humility to release or forgive the hurt they believed they had the right to retain, and then the number of friendships that have ended because reconciliation could not be achieved. The prodigal, the believer, the spouse, the ministry member, the friend – all experienced some type of hurt, selfish demand, and an opportunity to repent, turn back, or even flee before embracing the flesh’s response. 

Daily, even moment by moment, I must know truth and how to execute truth quickly in my core. My heart is always the starting point. God requires transparency of heart in my walk with Him and in my relationships with others. As others see Him in my most transparent moments, He promises He will draw hearts to Him. As others see truth in my life, He promises lives will be changed. The hard question I ask is: “Are lives being drawn and changed as a result of the transparency and truth being lived out in my life moment by moment each day?”

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