In December 2014, former Florida governor Jeb Bush shared with reporters that he would be releasing 250,000 emails along with an eBook sharing his governing philosophy. The move by Bush, he says, is a desire to promote transparency. The emails are from his two terms in office. Some believed at the time that his move towards transparency was a signal to the press and to the nation of his intention to run for president in 2016. Regardless of his political aspirations, his motive for releasing the emails, and his political affiliation, this sort of transparency is commendable.
I wonder how many marriages would be saved if everyone could get a glimpse into our email accounts? What if all our private messages were aired for all to see? Would we still have friends? Our natural tendency is to hide our sins and failures in shame, but understanding God’s grace toward us, in spite of our sin, frees us to be transparent with God and one another.
Have you heard the term, “Fake it till you make it?” Its basic meaning is, “Fake it until you can either do whatever you need to do or simply fool others so that you ‘make it.’” Many people operate under this philosophy, but it is bad advice for the Christian life. We are all tempted to wear a mask, but there are good reasons why we shouldn’t, and why we don’t have to.
Paul reminds us of the nature of sin in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nowhere in Scripture is sin ever described as good. It brings death and pain and misery. It’s never satisfying, and it robs us of joy. Secret and habitual sin is like a fungus on a piece of fruit. It multiplies, producing new cells, all the while eating away the flesh. Once fungus begins to destroy fruit you can’t stop it, but that is not the case for Christians. God’s word says that neither death, nor life, nor demons, nor anything else can keep us from the love of Christ—even the sin that clings closely to us (Rom. 8:38-39).
“Fake it till you make it” is bad advice for the Christian life.
Sin can’t separate a Christian from God in Christ. But the more we understand grace, the more we see how the amazing grace of God motivates us to repent of sin: “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2). Sin is so serious that it required death. In order to understand the true goodness of the cross, we must understand why it was necessary. This frees us to be transparent.
Want some truly comforting news? Nothing you or I do is really done in secret. God is omniscient, which means he is all-knowing. Nothing is hidden from the Lord, not even our secret thoughts (Jer. 23:24; Ps. 139:2-3). We can pretend to be incognito in our lives, on our couches, in our email exchanges, and in our thoughts, but we aren’t. He knows all things.
Understanding God’s omniscience should encourage us to be transparent. We don’t have anything to hide, because it’s not truly hidden. We also know that “there’s nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). There is nothing you’ve ever done that hasn’t been done before. We have all sinned, and we all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). It brings me great comfort to know I don’t have to hide the ugly parts of me from my dearest friends and my husband. I can be real. I don’t have to “fake it till I make it.”
Perhaps the most astonishing truth about God’s foreknowledge is that despite all he knows about us, discerning thoughts and hearts, he still forgives, and he began his pursuit of us before the foundation of the earth (Eph. 1:4). He not only forgives, but he cleanses. Read the truth of God’s faithfulness towards you in 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We can confess and receive His grace and forgiveness. You are loved because of Jesus. And this is good news.