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.

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.

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

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.”

The Transparency Is Hidden

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.”

Nothing Hidden from God

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.

This article is linked to The Jenny EvolutionChristian Mom BloggerEssential ThingsHappy and Blessed HomeGraced SimplicityKatherine’s CornerJenny MullinixLive Laugh RoweThriving ThursdaysMama BZZZSimply Helping HimRaising HomemakersHope in Every SeasonA Wise WomanWholehearted HomeDeep Roots at HomeTeaching What Is Good,

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3 Responses to “Transparency and Trust in . . . Christianity”

  1. Therealtruth says:

    Christianity and religion in general is a sickness and responsible for more suffering in this world than all other things combined. One of the most dangerous things in the world is the bible… Most so called Christians” haven’t even read it, much less understand it… So many bad things the so called God did in the bible… I just don’t happen to think a baby killer is the light of the world… Jesus doesn’t deserve a birthday…

    • TheRealTruth — thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with you that too many Christians do not read the Bible for themselves or make an effort to understand it without it being interpreted by others, and this is one reason why Christianity is mishandled and misunderstood.

      I do sense a strong emotion of anger in your words, as well as a bit of hyperbole, and as a human being who struggles with anger and irritation and impatience, I offer that anger clouds our judgment. If you are angry because the God of the Bible does not appear to be what perhaps you hope He would be — compassionate, loving, gracious, merciful, just, and fair (and none of these words can be applied to ANY human institution or man made belief system) — then your anger is justified because you have been running into, over and over, a substitute.

      It is possible to find the real thing, the real God, and many people have done so throughout history and continue to do so. He is big enough that we can shake our fist at Him, point out the things that bother us, and ask Him to walk us through the difficult things. We don’t even have to believe He is listening when you ask Him — the simple act of asking will open vistas that none of us can possibly imagine. The beauty of this is that He will deal with us directly, and we do not necessarily have to go through the messiness of human intervention. The latter is always there, but as we grow in maturity — whether or not we follow Christianity — we realize that humans are imperfect, and we must make allowances for them, including ourselves.

      Many passages of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, are hard for us to comprehend, and there may be no adequate answer for them in this life. How we interpret things depends upon our base sense of belief, and mine, as with many Christians, is that God is all good, all merciful, all gracious, and all loving. Those difficult passages will make sense someday, but while they don’t, I understand that I simply don’t understand everything, and move forward with what I do know.

      While this may seem mindless and simplistic, human beings do this all the time. Any honest look at the Theory of Evolution — which is applied as Law throughout much of society — would have to admit that it finds flaws, and yet, the person who believes in this Theory does so so strongly that he says, “I don’t understand that issue yet, but just because I don’t understand it, doesn’t mean I toss the whole thing out.”

      C.S. Lewis wrote a book entitled Mere Christianity that has one of the most measured, reasonable, clear explanations of God, Christ, and Christianity, and I highly recommend it. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles (not the movies!) are timeless and beautiful and well, and though written as children’s stories, have much to say about universal truth.

      The beauty of the Christmas season is the very thing that many Christians lament — it’s a messy mix of all sorts of traditions and beliefs and activities, and if it were limited to only approved religious activities, then many people would not be able to enjoy it. I wish you glad times during this season — the music and the shopping and the lights and the activity can be enjoyed by all — and warm, treasured times with the people whom you love. — Carolyn

  2. Carolyn, I love your honesty and think there is a part of being real that many struggle with.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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