Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Honest and Transparent

“Be honest and transparent.”  That quote changed my trajectory.  I have it scrawled in a notebook; notes from my earliest days in church.  It’s from a talk by Wally Norling, a wise man that led the Western division of the Evangelical Free church for a season.  This is such simple advice but so antithetical to natural impulses.  Simple steps but so crucial to effective ministry and a healthy life.

A transformative message coupled with a life that’s lived out the message speaks loudly.  You will note this in your own life---your heroes in print or media have a strong message because they've lived it.  That’s one way transparency looks from the outside.

From the inside transparency is a decision to be vulnerable.  Being transparent is a decision to share the deep things.  We share struggles and victories in hopes that others will be motivated and comforted through them.  Our hope is to comfort others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” This doesn't mean we vomit out our troubles all over you.  It’s not license to focus on self it’s a mindset to minister to others.

In this blog I share questions I have about how God works or give glimpses into my own insecurity and brokenness.  I do it in hopes that some reader will say, “Wow, he’s a knucklehead just like me,” and realize that they don’t walk the path alone.  I’ve heard leaders say they want to keep safe boundaries because they've been hurt before.  Certainly there’s place for wisdom but there’s no place for self-protection---not for the one who desires to come alongside others with encouragement.

One way to impact the lives of others is to walk alongside them.  “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.”  Being transparent is a frightening thing; we open ourselves up not knowing if we will be broken by others or our spirit crushed beyond repair.  Instead we rely on the promise, we will not break nor will we be quenched.  Along the way we will stir up and ignite others that they too may model that same transparent, vulnerable walking alongside.

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