By the time most of us reach adulthood, we have gotten proficient at wearing an identity mask. We carefully present an image of how we want the world to view us. It can be multi-faceted. We look a certain way, we talk a certain way, we choose acquaintances that reflect our social identity. Does this work for us?
It certainly oils our journey through our daily tasks, and helps us enter doors of opportunity in careers and relationships. But if we aren’t careful we lose the intimacy and spontaneity of taking chances, of being open to risks that could possibly gain us new adventures, growths and personal bonds. We have a tendency of building walls and boundaries that lead to exclusion and isolation. We can develop a fear of others not liking us if they “really knew what we are like.” The media paints a picture of the perfect person that few can every attain in real life. Life is messy, and not everyone has the opportunity and means to build the acceptable image. I was born one of eight children in a farming family; we were adequately fed and clothed, but there was nothing extra for being fashionable or having social status.
This desire to hide behind an image starts back in childhood. Some children’s environment is so rough they learn to lie to escape punishment, to put on a tough attitude for protection, and carry burdens not meant for our young. Public school systems teach competition over teamwork. It’s not safe to be transparent. As people get so immersed in the drive for success, they can make wrong decisions and selfish choices. Fear of detection drives them to greater duplicity. “Cover your backside” sort of behavior.
How can we unravel this charade so prevalent in the world? We can start by accepting others as they are. Some might not be so attractive or even pleasant, but if we look at them through the eyes of God, we will see valuable individuals worth saving. If we looked more intently, we might see them like they can become, fellow members of our community with talented gifts to share.
Forgiveness might be in order, because we need to be forgiven ourselves. Unconditional acceptance would mirror the unconditional love of God for each of us. Transparency would hold people responsible and promote trust, as shown in the two companies mentioned in Part 1.
Yes, I believe God calls us to transparency, but it can be so scary and full of risk. Can others truly accept us as we are? Well, if we are on our way to becoming more like Jesus, then that really shouldn’t be a problem, should it? If He can accept me like I am, then the world will just have to do the same. What He thinks is more important.