There is a movement of sorts taking place in my generation. We could call it the Cut the Crap campaign. Or the We’re Not Stupid initiative. Or the Who Do You Think You’re Kidding drive. Whatever you want to call it, the idea is the same: we want blatant honesty.
We want transparency from our leaders, whether political, corporate or ecumenical. We want people to give it to us straight, even if they think it will hurt us, disappoint us, or make our opinions of them plummet. We want honesty no matter the cost.
There are people out there who would rather stick their heads in the sand than drag ugly situations into the light. Like toddlers playing hide and seek, these people think closing their eyes makes problems disappear. They spend their time trying to ignore hardships and fail to grow through their challenges.
There are other people out there who would rather paint a pretty picture than admit they don’t have it all together. They know they don’t have it all together, but their pride keeps them from letting the rest of us know they don’t have it all together. They spend their time trying to hide difficulties and fail to heal from their pain.
Then there is a third group of people. They admit they have problems. They share those problems with others. Their honesty begets honesty, and they find their friends start sharing about their problems. They learn from one another. They see God work in each others lives. They become encouraged that He really does care. They worship the Lord who delivers them from hardship together. And they share His hope with others who have dared to admit that they are struggling.
These people grow.
And something amazing happens…the hope and love of Jesus Christ spread like wild fire.
I can’t help but think that is what Church was always meant to be. People hurting together, inviting honesty, speaking truth from the Scriptures while they are hurting together, not pretending that life doesn’t hurt, praying for one another, seeing God answer those prayers, rejoicing together, praising God for who He is and what He has done in their lives, and sharing that testimony with others. As near as I can tell, this description incorporates Bible study, prayer, worship and evangelism.
And it does it while being honest.
How can we make our churches more like this?
I think it starts with me and you getting real with those around us. That’s risky, for sure, but the potential for richness of community with others and deeper intimacy in our relationships with God are worth that risk.
We are the Church. If we want the Church to be more transparent, let’s be honest.