Proverbs 28:13 (ESV): “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
In part one of this series on trust, we looked at the importance of truth.
In that work, I argued how crucial it is for God’s people to be dedicated to telling the truth because that’s how one creates trust.
For all truth is God’s truth and anything that is good, true and beautiful can be found within the Godhead.
The wisdom of the book of Proverbs understands this commitment as well. We often see this book as the divine equivalent of homespun wit and wisdom, but it is so much more.
The wisdom tradition of the Hebrew people understood that to flourish in God’s creation you had to abide by its fundamental tenets.
Statements like “get up early” or “slow to anger” were not just to make you a better person (which is incredibly important), but it also helps a person attune his actions towards truth.
Often, if you abide by wisdom you function in God’s cosmic order more freely. The more you structure your life around the basic wisdom of God, the better one flourishes.
However, following the proverbial formula of wisdom is not a promise for getting what you want or desire. That is not the flourishing we are after.
We should desire to live in such a way where we see God clearer and, by doing so, we see the work he has before us in evangelizing the world.
So how can we function this way knowing that we are broken? Considering we live in a time when reliable institutions (political, economic and cultural) are on shaky ground, it is vital that we commit ourselves as Alabama Baptists to transparency.
How can we grow individually and corporately if we don’t do the hard brave work of being trustworthy, and how can we do that if we are not first honest about ourselves?
Being transparent does not mean unloading all your burdens on everyone you meet.
In the right context, transparency sets the initial mood and mode for all discipleship and evangelism. Individually if one is open to God, they can see themselves, warts and all. By confessing openly, we can heal thoroughly for He is faithful to forgive and cleanse.
For a church to be transparent, it means the body can be ready to prepare its members for kingdom work by allowing the Holy Spirit to freely move and create a unifying Christlikeness that can move mountains.
The early church in Acts is a powerful testimony to us in that they were committed to openness among each other and to the world at large. When they were committed to truth and transparency, the church flourished. When they were not (Corinthians anyone?), then they hampered their own spiritual growth as well as tainted their witness.
A myriad of issues plague the present church world, and the Baptists have not escaped our role in many of those problems. We have taken a hit on our ability to seem trustworthy to many in our culture.
While in some ways we are not bound by the definitions of our culture – and thank God we are not – I would rather take unjustified blows for my Lord knowing that I have done everything I can to honor Him.
I truly believe that transparency to each other in the church will allow us to practice openness and honesty to those all around us. You can’t be dedicated to truth without being honest about oneself. We can’t hope to be the light of the world if that luminescence is clouded by undiagnosed errors.
Let’s regain trust by being truth-filled and honest. Let’s be the light of the world by letting Jesus shine fully.
State Missionary Matt Burford is apologetics and evangelism specialist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. He may be contact at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 260, firstname.lastname@example.org.