Transparency: How much of your story should you tell?

I know I appreciate a transparent person. Don’t you? A sincere testimony, someone admitting “I’ve been there” and telling his story. Empathy. Understanding.

If you follow social media, you probably have been embarrassed a time or two when someone shared too much very publicly—at least in your opinion.

How much transparency is too much?

I believe it varies from person to person and with situations, but I also believe we can find a balance.

It is good to tell our stories.

It helps others when we share how we’ve overcome.

It’s encouraging when we can truly empathize with people going through the same kind of trial we’ve been through.

But, there can be some issues with transparency:

  1. Pride—building ourselves up as the superhero who overcame. The truth is, we all need the Lord’s help.
  2. Hurting others when we tell our story—We might reference someone who did us wrong and identify the person, trouble in our family, financial information, or something else. Is that person still living? Has this wrong been reported and justice been served? Or, will telling the story hurt someone’s feelings? Are you betraying a confidence? If abuse is part of the story, consider other people in the families and other victims.
  3. Forgetting to edify—Some people tell all the sad parts of their story, set themselves on a pedestal as an overcomer, and forget to help others. Christians should build up and help others. Your transparency should have that goal in mind.
  4. Couching gossip as a “prayer request”—While it is great to share prayer requests, we need to be careful not to air someone else’s dirty laundry in the guise of sharing a prayer request.

Be real. Let people feel your humanity. Tell how you learned a particular lesson, and give the glory to the Lord.

Do you need wisdom? (All the time.) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5). Pray for wisdom about sharing (yes or no) and for how to share, if God gives you a yes answer.

Think and pray before you speak—even in casual conversation.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

God bless you as you bless others.