Transparency is Protection

This post is about transparency, and in order to write about it requires me to be real with you guys. I refuse to write about something I’m not willing to put into practice. So I’ll put it out there now: I struggle with masturbation. Obviously I struggle with other things too, but the one I keep failing in without seeming to make any significant progress is masturbation. I don’t remember when I started. I remember reading things I wasn’t supposed to in seventh grade. Maybe it started in ninth grade; I know I was sinning in that area through tenth. But when I first started, I told a close friend about it – close enough that we call each other sisters. I was trying to gain an accountability partner in order to stop. It didn’t work out quite like that, but that’s not the point of this story. A while later – in tenth grade – I told another close friend who isn’t a Christian. It came up in an indirect manner. I had refused to do something or said something and my friend asked why. I chose to be real – to be transparent – with her. I told my mentor. Shortly after that my parents found out, which I still kinda wish they hadn’t.This year, I’ve told two more people – a Christian who was falling away from the faith and a strong Christian friend (a.k.a my friend with the nonprofit). And now I’m writing it here, on my blog.  I told the first person this year because they told me they admired my “strong” faith; I wanted them to realize I was human. People I identify as having a strong faith have always seemed like superhumans to me, like they’re at a height I could never reach. I never want someone to look at me and see me as better than them or more christian-like. Obviously I have my share of struggles. I’m human, nothing more. The second person I told as a conscious attempt to open myself up. But what I want to get at I just realized recently, in talking with that very first friend I told.

She told me she hadn’t understood why I had told the second friend. It took me a while to tell her, and it seemed like I told the second friend so quickly, even though I hadn’t yet known her for two full years. My explanation was a thought that had been half-forming in the back of my mind for several days. So I told her I was trying to be transparent. In telling all these people, my goal at the time may have been to be real and human and approachable (I’ve said I have trouble making friends, right?) but now it’s about transparency. I read a lot of books, and in so many of them trouble arises because of secrets. I generally have a very limited enjoyment of these books because I know what’s going to happen and I know it’s going to cause problems (with a few exceptions, like Tamora Pierce’s books Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen). It’s hard for authors to write a timeline like that well. And it’s hard because it’s so predictable. That secret will get them in trouble. How do they not realize this!? Yet for some reason, they keep it. The most enjoyable books are the ones where the character is actively striving to destroy whatever is making them keep this secret; the ones that refuse to be blackmailed. I know it happens in real life, too. As I tell the people close to me, I am making this secret less and less of a weapon as it becomes less and less of a secret. Proverbs 2:12-15 says “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.” Is telling people wisdom? I don’t know. But if it helps keep the men described in this passage from being able to manipulate me even once, then it works, right? Luke 8:17 says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” By telling people now of my own volition, I’m saving myself a lot of pain and embarrassment later. One more thing.

Luke 8:17 is in the section of passage that compares believers to lamps on a stand.. The full passage reads “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” We are supposed to be lamps on a stand. We are supposed to be the lights of the world. That is done most effectively not when we’re perfect (’cause we’re not; it’s a lie and people know it) but when we are real about our sin. It isn’t when we say we have no sin, but when we admit we have sin and say it has no real power over us because we are in Christ Jesus. It’s when we admit that we’re human and show people that we are different because of Christ. Maybe telling people has been easier for me because I have an awesome support group that’s willing to help me and not judge me. But you know what? So often sin has power because it’s a secret. How much more would the church open up if they started sharing the burden of their sin instead of shouldering it alone? Every person you tell takes a little bit of power away from that sin and makes it more and more unwieldy for the devil until he can’t use it against you. Being transparent protects us. And what shines brighter – a flame with a colored cover or a flame with a clear cover?

 

Okay. So maybe this post scares people off. Being transparent does that sometimes. It lets God shine through a little more and draws them in a little more and weirds them out a little more. It’s another way of being different. Secrets are a burden on people. Some people are like “No secrets? Oooh, shiny! Me want!” and others are like “What is that disgusting creature get it away from me why is it so fascinating” but either way it makes us stand out. Sorry if you think it’s too forward, but that’s what this blog is. But please don’t think it’s too forward because I already told my dad-mentor (new name for him. I like it) that I had one follower (hi!). And this post may have rambled a little bit, and I am sorry for that. Welp, that’s all! Bye!

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