Transparency and Trust in . . . Christianity

As Christians, we spend a lot of time waiting, and it’s good to know that the Person we are waiting for is Someone we can trust. Lady in Waiting, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

Christianity isn’t hocus pocus, you know, but you’d not be faulted for thinking so, given some of the “teachings” out there.

One of my favorites, or rather, one that I dislike the most, has to do with negative statements, and the voodoo reaction they will have upon you, your life, your relationship with God, and the way your dog thinks about you if you say something like,

“I don’t think this is going to work.”

Negative Thinking

“Oh, don’t say that!” someone inevitably pipes up. “You can do all things through Christ, you know, and if you express doubt, you are expressing doubt in God Himself.”

How wonderful. Yet another burden of guilt to bear.

The other day I was chatting with someone about prayer when I observed,

“I came to realize, when I was talking with God, that my essential problem is that I don’t really trust that He is as good as He says He is.

“So I told Him this, and asked Him to help me get over my fears and inadequacies, and to come to a point of truly trusting in His goodness.”

Let’s Be Honest, with God and Each Other

While shock and awe might be an overstatement of my listener’s reaction, there was a significant silence.

“I am amazed that you can be so . . . honest . . . with God,” she replied.

Some people lament that Santa takes away from Christ as Christmas. But think of it — how many people doubt the goodness of Santa the way they doubt the goodness of Christ? Maybe we can learn something from this. Christmas Story original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be?

Many years ago, when the Norwegian Artist’s college diploma couldn’t be rolled up because the ink was still wet, the man worked for a company whose president encouraged an open office where employees, even the lowliest minions, could stride freely into the chief’s office and express their opinions about anything.

As a trusting, lowly minion of the time, the Norwegian took the man at his word and expressed misgivings over certain company policies which didn’t seem especially . . . ethical, especially in light of the president’s confident pronouncement of the company’s Christian policies.

Significant Silence. Then,

“I suggest that you let this matter go,” the president replied, “that is, if you want to keep your job.”

So much for openness and transparency, something that is trumpeted not only in business and government, but within the Christian establishment community, where believers are encouraged, in small groups, to express themselves freely and enjoy the abundant acceptance of Christ.

That is, until they pipe up with something like,

“My essential problem is that I don’t truly trust God and accept that He is as good as He says He is.”

Children are openly, engagingly, and amazingly honest, and we can learn much from them. Bold Innocence, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

A lot of people have a problem with true, wrenching, uncomfortable honesty, but I’m here to give you some good news from the ultimate CEO, who is not particularly interested in hearing what you think He wants to hear, but is fully capable of understanding of what is in your heart — sometimes so deep in your heart that you don’t realize it is there.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” Hebrews 4: 12 describes not only God’s word, but God Himself.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

No matter how dreadful your thought, no matter how uncomfortable it would make another person to hear it, no matter how inappropriate and negative and irreligious and untrusting it sounds, if it’s in your heart, God already knows about it, and your denying that it exists isn’t going to make it go away.

Indeed, the only way to deal with the agonizingly difficult doubts, fears, anxieties, hostilities, and bitterness that we bury, deep down where they fester and grow, is to ask God to use that sword, and pierce the darkness.

And He will fill our souls with light.

Join me Wednesdays for Contempo Christianity, when I talk about living as a real Christian in a world that loves deceit. You can also find me at Commonsense Christianity, BeliefNet, where I post three times a week. Recent articles include 

“I’m Christian, but I’m not Religious”

Two Reasons Why the World Hates Christians

You’re a Name, Not a Number

The Artwork in my articles is by my Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, with whom I am celebrating 31 years of marriage this month.

You can find Steve’s original oil and watercolor paintings at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Find Steve’s licensed open edition prints at Great Big CanvasLight in the BoxSears.comAmazon.comSagebrush.comRakuten.comAllPosters.comWall Art BoxLuban DecorArt.com

Businesses and manufacturers: contact Steve’s agents at Art Licensing.

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About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, Christian, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Growth, home, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, News, Personal, Relationships, religion, santa, spirituality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Transparency and Trust in . . . Christianity

  1. Living in this place of openness and honesty with God is so freeing and healing!!!! As James says, We are to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we might be healed. John says we are to walk in the light as He (Jesus) is in the light. That means being real and open. I am so thankful for those moments when the Holy Spirit reveals the truth about what I really believe so that He can expose the lie and replace it with truth.

    Thank you once again Carolyn for sharing with us so candidly!

    • You are welcome, Alecia. The freedom to come before God, honestly and buck naked, so to speak, is invaluable — but too many people do not realize that they have this. For many of us, the number of people before whom we can be so transparent is limited indeed, and sadly, whether or not a person calls himself a Christian is not always guarantee that He will still accept another person after that person has bared his or her heart.

      For this reason, I encourage people to turn to God first and always, and learn to be transparent before Him. Regardless of the urgings of others to “share yourself,” “be accountable to others,” and “be authentic,” many people feel — justifiably — uncomfortable fully baring the contents of their soul in any public forum, regardless of how small and cozy the group is.

      What is important is that they recognize the freedom they have in Christ to express themselves — to Him. As they use this freedom, and grow in it, they will find that they don’t particularly care about what others think, and ironically, will be able to share more deeply with others because the opinion of those others is not the opinion that matters.

      In contemporary corporate Christianity, we frequently go about it backwards, teaching that we will be closer and freer with Christ when we “practice” first on one another. Too many people have been damaged this way, and afterwards, made to feel that it is their fault somehow. If only we can realize how truly close and accessible Christ is, and how safe we are in His hands!

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