When honesty and transparency are coming from a pure heart loving the Lord and obeying his will, then they are strong ingredients of humility. One who is honest of his mistakes can be regarded as humble. In 2 Samuel 12, David was rebuked for his crime of adultery and murder by Nathan the prophet. He responded in humility by not justifying himself. He repented and did not repeat this sin. Saul was different. When his disobedience was pointed out by Samuel, he justified himself by saying, “ But I did obey the LORD. I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal." (1Sam 15:20,21). Though he asked for forgiveness, God saw his heart that he was not repentant. His heart became deceptively wicked. His heart did not belong to God anymore. This was illustrated by the events that followed, particularly, when he became jealous of David.
When honesty and transparency are coming from a selfish motivation and fear, it is pride. And it could be tragic. In 1 Samuel 22:9, Doeg the Edomite honestly told Saul that he saw David come to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. His honesty is not humility. It is wicked-- a wicked tool to promote his self interest that satisfied the bitterness of Saul with David. It also became a subtle weapon of Satan to destroy the priest and his home town. We can conclude then that Doeg’s honesty was inspired by darkness. To understand why Doeg was wickedly honest, let us perceive his background.
Doeg, the edomite servant tending sheep in the King’s court perhaps was hurting from a low self worth and was aiming for a possible promotion. At a time when Saul was looking for a information on David’s whereabouts and no one was giving what Saul needed, he saw this as an opportunity to prove his worth as an an asset to Saul. He quickly grabbed it and gave information that brought tragedy to the town of the priests. It is possible that he had resented or simply despised the priest. The guards respected the priests as anointed men of God but Doeg did not regard them as such. He was at the temple when David came to Ahimelech. What was he doing there? He was detained. As an Edomite, he is not allowed to worship at the temple. When the officials and guards refused to kill the priest, Doeg contributed to Israel’s history by serving as the gruesome executioner of priests in Old testament times. He turned and struck down Ahimelech and his family then slaughtered men, women, children, infants, cattle, donkeys and sheep at Nob (1 Sam.22:18,19).
Honesty is humility when it exposes self to repentance and restoration. It is also humility to expose others to correction and restoration when it is done out of a godly love. Nathan’s prophetic rebuke to David was a delicate matter---a high risk situation. But Nathan had to do it in obedience to God. If David will not repent, this could cost him his life. David could kill him to conceal his crime of adultery and murder punishable by stoning to death. It is humility to correct one who has the human authority to command death or life upon you.
Transparency is humility when it does not hide motives and actions that are beneficial to others. But any information that is supposed to be handled confidentially must not fall under transparency. Disclosing information that is harmful or intended to harm or destroy is evil.
On the other hand, withholding information from a person who has the solution to problems or trouble is also evil. Many Christians are caught in this unwise covenant of keeping secrets. They keep secrets that are sometimes significant to the healing of relationships or are vital to solutions of problems. Because of an oath made to somebody, they are not free to disclose to anyone, including their authorities, spiritual leaders, counselors and parents. This is wrong. There should be no secrets hidden from our authorities: parents, counselors, leaders, and pastors.
Personal matters that benefit others can be shared through transparency. Personal matters that are oppressive and destructive must be kept from public knowledge.
The plumb line of what is evil or good is Jesus. He is the standard of measure and the basis of what is right or wrong. His attitude, character and his ways are our basis of honesty and transparency. His relationship with his Father in heaven and father on earth, his mother, brothers and sisters, disciples, followers and accusers, enemies, and those who came to him and those he met, talked with or had to face along his path in saving the world is humility. His talking, silence and behavior are perfect. He came to show us humility.
Leo & Zeny Calderon