Confusing Transparency and Integrity

Transparency is highly valued. People hate hypocrisy. They despise people being phony. They would rather known what someone or something is really all about than something being presented falsely. But there is a difference between transparency and integrity. The two should never be confused. Transparency is seeing something for what it really is. If it is junk, it appears to be junk. If it is valuable that shows up as well. Integrity is impossible without transparency but not the other way around. It is entirely possible to be transparent about your lack of integrity. That is called audacity.

Because transparency is so highly valued some Christians have fallen into the trap of thinking evil can be alright as long as they are being honest with themselves and others about it. This is confessional complacency at its best and it results in transparency being a rationalization for sin rather than a means to integrity. The race away from hypocrisy has led many to integrityless transparency rather than using our shortcomings to help our faith and integrity grow.

It is important that we are people of integrity. One of the first steps toward getting there is transparency, that we are real with ourselves and others about our shortcomings. For integrity to grow from there it is going to take more than a complacent acknowledgment of problems. We have to let that knowledge and experience refine our lives into a more holy existence. That can only be done in partnership with God and a community of faith.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

4 Responses to Confusing Transparency and Integrity

  1. Lantz Howard says:

    Great insight and thoughts.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about today.

  2. James says:

    Good post, Matt, and made me think back through several conversations of the past week or so.

    I also got a good chuckle that this is what I saw after reading your post:
    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2010-05-22/

  3. Alan says:

    You could not be more right if you tried…

    Especially in my generation, where we seem to crave authenticity above all else; it seems as if the push for transparency has begun to trump the very thing that transparency was supposed to illuminate. That is our desparate need for repentance.

    Great stuff.

  4. Steve says:

    Good post. Integrity is one of those foundational issues that we have to get honest with God and ourselves about. Does what I say and what I do really line up?

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