As I continue in a process of being examined for pastoral leadership, I have increasing seen the truth displayed that the transparent life is liberated from the concern over being found out. It calls attention to the legacy passed down from the medieval practice of confession. Confession was not invented by the Roman Catholics. It is a practice that has its roots in James 5:16 (“So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.”). Healed from what?
Applications can abound, but one area of healing I have observed and experienced is liberation from the bondage of secrecy. Secrecy in one’s life can fertilize the snaking kudzu of sin that wraps and chokes out the healthier blossoms of decency purposefully planted by the Master Gardener. Secrecy feeds the shame and addiction of unwanted sins that glom onto the soul, creating abhorrent barriers between where one’s life and how close they perceive God to be. Is there any greater victory for the enemy than the secret life of the addicted Christian leader?
For this reason the ancient practice of confession is wisely resurrected from its historic tomb, and recognized as far too valuable a practice to be relegated to pre-reformation traditions. The life characterized by confession enjoys what I call “the Teflon effect” (less stuff sticks to you). Confession is not then merely an event, but a lifestyle. It’s a transparent life that offers the enemy no quarter in his constant struggle to produce results in the believer’s life best kept under wraps. The transparent life is liberated from the bondage of secrecy that shames people into the shadows, keep the elephant firmly in the room and steps around whatever was swept under the rug.
The liberation of transparency is not only psychological, contributing to a refreshing healing of the soul made sick with secret shame, but also theological. The myriad negative effects of one’s felt-distance from God can never be fully tracked. The example of the first couple is sufficient to remember the effects of sins which need covering up, producing instincts to hide from the Divine presence. Confession strikes a devastating blow at the enemy’s efforts to bring us to a place where we say to God “I heard You nearby…I was afraid because I was exposed…so I hid from You” (Gen 3:10 paraphrased). Embrace the wisdom of James 5:16. Be liberated by transparency from the bondage of secrecy. Secrecy is the proverbial Petri dish in which sin grows to lethal strength. The transparent life allows no such opportunity for sin to bind up the servant of Jesus Christ, but instead liberates them to become what God intends for His purpose of reaching the world.