Thursday, 29 August 2013

Invisibility Versus Transparency


If you are a Nurse, then according to a recent poll, you are most trusted person in Australia!* I get concerned about someone when I hear them say, "Don't you trust me?!" But I get deeply troubled when I hear a Christian say it! I assume that in every Christian's discipleship pathway they were taught about The Fall and its damage upon every human being since then. I assume that those who have been a Christian for a while understand that everyone is subject to a fallen nature which causes us to involuntarily prefer sin and rebellion over righteousness and submission to God, His Word or His delegates. Our universal perspicacity (tendency to shrewdly distort things in our favour) causes us to use passwords on websites and locks on our doors.
Trusted Professions Poll
Catch me Daddy!
"Trust no man", the Psalmist wrote (Psalm 146:3). In fact, no where in Scripture does it require, recommend, or encouragement us to trust another person.
¶ Thus says the LORD:
"Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Jer. 17:5
This is why accountability and transparency is not an unreasonable requirement of those you interact with.

My understanding of what the Bible says about the universal human condition causes me to willingly submit to the appropriate scrutiny of others about the use of my time, my productivity levels, my key relationships, my use of money, my reliability. "Don't you trust me?" is not something I can honestly remember saying since I came to understand what the Bible states about the human condition (over 30 years ago now). This is not meant to be a boast. It is, in fact, an admission.

Because we are all flawed humans, we can only truly interact with each other on the basis of there being some accountability and appropriate transparency. Those who are closest to me see more of who I truly am - that is, I am more transparent with them. "But doesn't this require trust?" you ask. Yes it does. But I have learned that the Bible requires not that I trust others - but that I be trustworthy.
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Second Timothy 2:2
Trustworthiness is at the heart of the Bible's command to followers of Christ to be 'faithful'. By being faithful we become dependable, reliable, and somewhat predictable - that is: worthy of trust. By being faithful to Christ we become known for being truthful, honest, and God-fearing. This also means that we are happy to be accountable and reasonably transparent, because we have nothing to fear from such scrutiny. This might be why I become a little suspicious when someone asks ('demands') "Don't you trust me?!", because this sounds too much like - I am not accountable to anyone.
There is a craving, though, in every human heart, to trust someone. When we do this with someone who has not earned our trust, we get hurt. But despite our hurts, we still want someone to trust.
¶ Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5
When someone holds you to account, they are doing what is absolutely necessary for you to become trustworthy. If you resent someone checking on your work, you can never become trustworthy. If you are uncomfortable with someone asking where you have been, why you are late, how you managed to lose it, what have you been doing all day, or who you were meeting with today, you are possibly preventing yourself from becoming trustworthy.

In writing to his proteg√©, the apostle Paul told Timothy to pastor the church at Ephesus by preaching the Word of God (2Tim. 4:2). And what was the main value that preaching the Word of God could deliver to those he was pastoring?
and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 
Second Timothy 3:15-17
God has given the Scriptures to (i) make us wise to receive salvation through Christ; (ii) teach us; (iii) reprove us (reprimand); (iii) correct us; and (iv) train us. Which of these Scriptural functions doesn't involve accountability? And to which of these Scriptural functions can we submit to without becoming increasingly transparent? The follower of Christ who therefore tells everyone to 'mind their business' and 'that is none of your business!' has failed to recognise that following Christ inevitably requires increasing accountability and transparency. But the believer who welcomes the effect of the Word of God in their lives is on a journey toward "completeness" and being "equipped for every good work" (2Tim. 3:17). If you want to be 'complete' and 'equipped', be accountable to the right people.

INVISIBILITY, THE OPPOSITE OF TRANSPARENCY

In the full story of Jack (most often associated with beans and a giant) he comes across an enchanted coat which has the power to make him invisible. F.W.Boreham asks, "How could Jack have conquered the giant; how could he have slain the dragon; how could he have escaped from the ogre's bone-littered dungeon; how could he have rescued the charming princess whom he afterwards married, but for that enchanted garment?" (The Other Side of The HIll, 1930, page 67) Boreham reminds us that Plato first wrote about the use of invisible powers in his book, Republic, where Gyges discovers 'a ring of invisibility' which when placed upon the finger and turned in a certain direction "rendered the wearer totally invisible" (p. 68). H.G. Wells wrote the book, The Invisible Man, who discovered the chemical secret to becoming invisible. If you had the power of invisibility what would you do with it? What if half the world had the power of invisibility - would the world be a better place? F.W. Boreham argues that it would lead to rampant crime and chaos. Invisiblity, it appears, is the opposite to transparency! Yet today there are followers of Christ who are more invisible than they are transparent.
Rom. 3:19 ¶ Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

Rom. 14:12 ¶ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
If you want to enjoy the riches of knowing and following Christ, your journey will be one of increased scrutiny and transparency. Our flesh (our sinful nature) will recoil at such a notion. But our God-given new spirit will rejoice at the opportunity to know Christ better and serve Him more effectively. And as you come up this mountain of intimacy with the Lord (refer to Psalm 15) you will be delighted to find that you will be accompanied by other trustworthy pilgrims who also submit to the accountability that the Scriptures necessarily bring. Thus, rather than having fewer and fewer people to trust, you will discover more and more people that you can trust because they have become trustworthy. As a result, you will become more trustworthy and more Christ-like and therefore a more attractive and persuasive witness for Jesus and His Gospel. The next time you crave invisibility, choose transparency instead.

Ps. Andrew

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