Your son is failing high school, your daughter just got a tattoo and your husband has received a pink slip at work due to cutbacks. But your main concern is, "What will the neighbors think?!"
Far too many times we are more concerned with what outsiders think about us instead of making sure we are transparent and authentic to those who matter the most, those who live among us in the place we call home.
But why cover up? Why not allow our family to see us for who we truly are? According to Kevin Leman, author of A New Kid by Friday, it all started in the garden. "Our natural tendency is to cover up. After all, Adam and Eve covered up," says Leman. "We all specialize in 'arms-length relationships.' To be vulnerable and transparent you’ve got to be pretty grown up and most of us aren’t. Have you been to a little league game? Have you seen people drive? Are we really grown up? It takes a lot of maturity to be transparent."
Leman says many times we let our fears get in the way of "keeping it real."
"We fear so much. We care more about what others think we are, then who we are. How do we pray? For our real self or the one we let others see? When the real self wins, we have transparency."
Of course you can't hide anything from God. No biblical character knew that better than King David. After having Uriah killed in an attempt to hide his adulterous affair with the soldier's wife, Bathsheba, David soon learned that eventually your sins find you out. But even before his advisor, Nathan, pointed out his sin, David struggled internally. In Psalm 32:3-5 David laments:
"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD' —and you forgave the guilt of my sin (NIV)."
David was freed from his torment when he finally refrained from "covering up his iniquity" and gave into a life of transparency before God and man. God's favor toward David wasn't because he always made all the right choices, or how others perceived him; remember man might be impressed with outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
As moms and dads we can spend a great deal of energy covering up the heart. Under the guise of "setting the bar high," we teach our children how to camouflage themselves as glorified superheroes. "I am Mom, able to clean house, pay bills and help children with homework, while simultaneously caring for aging parents and running a Sunday school program." Or "I am Dad, embracing my responsibility to bring in a large income, while remaining sensitive to all of the emotional needs of my family, and working on that tundra some call a yard." All good things. But if those acts of service turn out to be a façade, covering up our true motives and ambitions, the jig is up and hypocrisy is revealed.
"Even when the inevitable happens and our family learns who we really are, we play a different role outside the home," explains Leman. "We make fools of ourselves. Dad is the leader of the family but when he gets in the SUV on Sunday and one kid's missing, the anger switch goes off. He yells at his four year old, 'You're supposed to be in the car!' Then he comes to church and puts on a church face. You can fool all the people at church, but you can't fool your family."
Leman suggests a healthier approach is to admit the obvious to our family and others. "We love to say things like, 'As Christians we don't do that.' We sin like the rest of the heathens. The important thing is that we make sure there's no damage in the relationship. Each of us has sinned. Our family needs to hear us say, 'Sorry, forgive me, I jumped to conclusions.' That makes you bigger in your family's eyes," Leman says.
Committing to a high definition or transparent lifestyle is doing more for your family then you'd probably imagine says Leman. It's leaving a legacy. "You are packing your kids' bags right now. What are they going to take away from your home? It's all about relationships, honest ones."
Transparency words to use in your home
With Your Spouse-
- I’m struggling with wanting to do the wrong thing. Will you pray with me?
- I'm sorry. I'm acting like a child instead of an adult right now.
- I'm going to do the right thing, even though I don't want to.
- I messed up.
With Your Child-
- I really handled that situation the wrong way, will you forgive me and I'll try to do better next time?
- I love to spend time with you, but mommy doesn’t have any more energy to give tonight. Let's plan on doing that tomorrow.
- I'm angry right now, so I'm going to sit in time out and cool down.
- I struggled with that when I was your age too.