rebelling against low expectations

The Problem With Transparency


Among evangelicals today there seems to be this attitude that the most important aspect of our community and witness to a lost world is transparency. We have begun to believe that what the world wants more than anything from us is for us to be real.

Allow me to first say that I am wholeheartedly in favor of transparency.

It seems to me that there are way too many Christian circles out there that portray Christians as well dressed, well mannered, well respected people who have a great life with little to no problems. If you turn on TBN for long enough, this is the picture that you get.

When in reality, following Christ is messy and difficult. We have been given a new nature yes, but the old nature creeps back up often and we continue in our struggle with sin and temptation. Furthermore, we have so many trials and tribulations.

So hear me when I tell you that I believe in transparency.

I wish for the day when as local gatherings of believers, we can share our struggles.

That when the pastor asks for prayer requests, John stands up and expresses his need of prayer because he struggles with anger on a daily basis.

I dream about churches that spend much time during their Sunday gatherings in confession and prayer over their struggle with sin.

Small groups should be a place that we share that we are far from perfect.

Here is where I find the problem though; we stay in the place of transparency far too long.

We are way too content sharing our struggles with each other while we neglect to talk about how we are fighting it.

Small groups gather, spend an hour talking about how we are “all sinners.” By the way, Christians in the Bible are called saints way more than sinners (it’s a 3:1 ratio actually).

We talk about how we struggle often, but never how we are making war.

We would rather stay in a place of admitting a struggle than actually get up and do something about it.

Our cry for transparency has left no room for the war against sin.

James 5:16 says – “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

So we should spend more time praying for each other “that we may be healed” than sharing what it is we are struggling with.

I’m not saying lose the transparency; I am calling for us to not leave ourselves in that state.

When an unbeliever walks into our assembly, they should not only see a group of people acknowledging their sin, but they should also see a group of people acknowledging their Savior and praising God for victory over their once struggles.

We are so foolish in this because we will come into the same small group for two years and talk about our struggle with porn; all the while having our friends sympathize with us and commend our honesty and transparency.

Yet, two years have gone with no victory over the sin because we were so stuck on being transparent.

The gospel has set us free to be weak yes, but it has also given us freedom from the bondage of sin!

We have been saved from guilt and shame, but we are supposed to have glorious fellowship with our Savior; and that fellowship is broken by sin.

We have been set free by the gospel to hate our sin, not sulk in it.

The gospel leaves no room for continuous sin in our lives.

As we open up about our struggles, the body of Christ is supposed to pray for us and help us fight.

It’s time to take the next step, Church! We were not called to boast in our sin (that’s what we are doing when we are only ever sharing our struggles), but we are called to boast in Our Savior!

So what sin have you been sharing with people for the past few months that you have not taken steps to overcome yet?

Philippians 1:6“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently __ Comment(s)

Photo courtesy of Marian Sievers and Flickr Creative Commons.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Kenny Roberts

is a 22-year-old youth pastor born and raised in the Bahamas. His passion is discipleship and he desires that the Gospel (namely Jesus) be central to everything we do and say as believers. Kenny works at Echo Youth Ministry and attends Trinity Baptist College.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Awesome article, Kenny.

    I think this issue could essentially be boiled down to the fact that we are following man, not Christ, and it is that direction that needs to be changed. If we follow Christ, our transparency will lie in the abandonment of our sins.

    You’ve definitely hit a crucial element in the Church today. We cannot live only for transparency. We have to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Christ! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Truthfully I think we all struggle with this to some degree because we want the world to see ‘the real us.’ But we have to remember that we have been set apart. Don’t be fake, but don’t fake being real. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Yes, Kenny I agree, We are way too content sharing our struggles with
    each other while we neglect to talk about how we are fighting it. We
    face trials & temptations, but we should never let them keep us in
    bondage. Christ came to set us free, we have the power, in Christ, to
    overcome, so we must remember to 1. Submit to God. 2.Resist the devil
    & he will flee from you. (James 4:7) It
    is Christ’s power over the enemy that the world needs to see. Too much
    in the world glorifies sin, (take the TV program named “Revenge” for
    example, the name itself tells the world of the carnal desire to pay
    back) Yes, we need to acknowledge sin, but glorify the one who gives us
    victory over sin by showing it in our lives.
    The more we dig into God’s Word the more ammo we have to resist the enemy…
    2Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
    Transparency should = victory
    Well pointed out Kenny

    • Thanks for your input and encouragement. I think we have a responsibility to encourage the body of Christ to move past this. Knowledge of the problem doesn’t solve it. Let’s go forth in the Spirit of God with the Word of God and try to help people move past this debilitating stage.

  • Yes! We need to be 1)open and 2)broken so that ultimately, we can be FREE! It’s so hard to see people who start out on the road to freedom and then quit. Jesus died to give us LIFE! There’s no life in sin (aka “death”). Thanks so much for this post!!!

    • Yes thank YOU. It is crazy to see people who have tasted salvation and give up like we see talked about in Hebrews 6.

  • This is a great article. I’m thinking, however, there’s maybe a difference between transparency and authenticity. You mentioned that the church has taken a turn to focus on being “real”. It’s true that youth today can spot someone fake from a mile away so the need is there. But I think we can easily remain authentic– the quality so many young people are craving from authority figures– without getting caught up in transparency instead of truly dealing with the sin.

    Good thoughts! I’m also a 20 something going into youth ministry, and topics like these are always interesting to me 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments, I totally agree with you. The main point that I’m trying to make is that we don’t stay stuck in our sin because our only focus is being “real.”

      Being authentic is a different thing for sure because an authentic Christian will fight sin. Also an authentic Christian will not make transparency their goal. So well said.

  • This was jaw-dropping! You pointed out so many things that I believe are true but that I have never really been able to put to words! I truly believe, in addition to the things you said, that being transparent or open about your struggles draw people to you. I have met people before who only speak of the good in their life or of their accomplishments, and never of their weaknesses. I am a person who struggles with worrying about what other people think or worrying that I will say the wrong things, and when I come across that person acting like they have it all together, I honestly feel uncomfortable. I therefore try to be up front and don’t hide anything, just being myself, and I have found that people seem very comfortable and actually seem to enjoy talking. Or at least I would like to think that! 🙂 Thank you again! I am going to read this over a second time! 🙂

    • Thank you! Love transparency and believe it is so needed because there are people that act like they have it all together which pushes people away. Transparency does draw people to you and that’s why it’s important to then fight your sin so that those people see victory in Christ, not just someone who struggles the same way they do.

  • totally, wow, that’s awesome, so well written that was really clear! talking about how you fight your problems can help other people find solutions to their problems.

  • Amen. I never thought about that until now, but you’re right. Seeing the problem isn’t enough. we have to fight it, by the strength of God. Thank you for your post and God bless you!
    – Trent

By Kenny Roberts
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →