So the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”I was very much afraid (Nehemiah 2:2).
Transparent behavior is authentic action. What we do matches who we are in our heart. The opposite of transparency is hypocrisy. A hypocrite hides behind a mask to manipulate their image into something it’s not. A transparent person, on the other hand, gives a true representation of themselves, what you see is what you get. The good, the bad and the ugly. Authenticity does not conceal real feelings to keep up a false identity. Transparent behavior is comfortable being real.
Nehemiah normally was full of joy, but on this day his countenance communicated distress. His family and friends were in trouble. We can chose to stuff our pain with a plastic smile or we can express our hurt with a saddened face. Trust is what facilitates our transparent behavior. If we trust God and others we take the risk to be real. There is freedom in letting go and letting the Spirit lead the conversation. Transparent behavior trusts God to work through honest interaction.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Romans 15:7).
Do people feel comfortable around you? How can you make them feel safe to be themselves? One way is to be open about your own struggles and challenges. When someone hears of your temptations and need for accountability, they feel you understand them. As individuals are understood, they open up and feel the freedom to share their true feelings. Your love and confidentiality give people permission to be real. Acceptance encourages transparent behavior. A person’s vulnerability is an opportunity for us to help them, not hurt them. Reward being real.
Furthermore, we are wise to not hide who we are with those who know us the best. When we are afraid, angry or hurt, ‘fine’ is not an acceptable answer to “How are you doing?” It blesses our spouse, family and friends when we let them in on our heart. Transparency deepens authentic relationships. A word of caution: being real does not mean to emotionally throw up on someone, but it does mean to prayerfully share struggles, dreams and joys. Let’s be honest with ourselves and God. He already knows, but it honors Him and helps us when we share our heart in prayer.
I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy (Psalm 142:1).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to be real so others feel comfortable being themselves around me.
Related Readings: Psalm 15:2; Proverbs 22:21; Matthew 6:16; Luke 22:42; Ephesians 4:15, 25
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