Transparency is a corporate buzz-word that many love and very few even try to put into practice. I have often seen the word applied to actions that as an insider I know are as far as possible from the meaning of the word! Putting a positive spin on facts is not being transparent. Publishing reports filled with words that draw one to the wrong conclusion is not transparency. Disguising the truth, being unable to hear what is true, or gaining comfort from what both parties knows to be false are all examples of being anything but transparent!
Far too often we apply the logic, if not the word, to our relationship with God. I do it as easily as I get up and shower in the morning. Think of those around you – everyone wants to look good! The desire doesn’t end with how we dress for those around us; it includes how we are perceived, the ways that people relate to us, and the ideals that others believe we hold important. In certain circles being a Democrat is terrible; while for others any association with the Republicans could endanger your health. Who wants to be transparent in an environment like this? The concept applies anywhere in the world – a New Labor vs. Tory supporter in England, or even more importantly which football team you support! It is only with the latter that an Englishman might be honest.
For many of us the concept that God might be transparent is foreign and or frightening. Do I really want to know where I stand? Can I stand to know what God thinks? Will the truth kill me from the inside out?
The missing elements are trust and confidence. Why does God want to be transparent? God bluntly asks the tough questions. “You walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen?” (Revelation 2.3)
The answer to the “why” question is this: God loves us passionately, unconditionally, and without reserve. Happiness, true love can be tough.