A few weeks ago I was introduced to the Johari Window, a psychological relational tool. I guess I should say re-introduced, because I found a worksheet on the Johari Window in my seminary folder. As you can see from the picture above the window has 4 panes. The top left pane represents what everybody knows about you and you know as well. The bottom left pane is what you know about yourself but choose not to reveal to others. The top right pane is what others perceive of you that you don’t know about yourself. The bottom right pane is your subconscious; nobody knows what’s in the pane, but it still has a bearing on our relationships.
The objective of the Johari Window is to decrease the amount of unknown material that is having an adverse affect on your relationships. I took a look at this tool from a spiritual filter and have applied its insights to the church (congregationally and individually). A congregation might think it is friendly but visitors might think it is cold; there is a relational disconnect. An individual might think that they have a wonderful relationship with Jesus, but his/her co-workers might not even know he/she is a Christian; there is a relational disconnect. The panes are connected. What is in one of the panes has an affect on all the panes. If a person is secretly looking at porn (Hidden Pane) it will have an affect on the Open and Blind and Unknown panes. If people perceive you as untrustworthy (Blind Pane) whether it is true or not there is an affect on the other panes.
Thinking spiritually not psychologically, for us as the church the goal or directive is for things we do in private to be congruent with the things we do in public. This is first and foremost about character. Character is who you are when nobody is looking or in the Johari Window it is what we find in the Hidden Pane. Secondarily it is about what people perceive is your character; the Blind Pane. There are some things that are always going to be going to be disconnected; thus the need for both the panes. The truly important things, Faith, Hope, and Love, are areas we don’t want there to be a disconnect in any of the panes. Congruency translates to authenticity. Authenticity in turn minimizes the disconnect between what is true and what is perceived. In other words, “we are practicing what we preach.”
Authenticity is the crux. Do our prayer and devotional lives, our confessions, our worship, our closed door and parking lot meetings, our unspoken rules, our Monday-Saturday behavior, our tithes and offerings, our inner thoughts, and our alone time resonate and shadow the mind of Christ – “Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2)?
The test of authenticity is to ask those difficult questions;
– Do the people in my circle of influence know that I am a Christian?
– Is my behavior in church the same as my behavior on Friday night?
– Do people really know that I love Jesus and my faith is solely in Jesus?
– Do I think life is about me or do I truly live life glorifying God?
– Do I study the Bible or do I just have a Bible?
– Am I trusting God with everything including my finances?
– Are people seeing in my life love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
– Am I confessing my secret sins and repenting?
– When controversy arises or circumstances demand you take a stand do people know immediately what side you will be on?
– Are you a peacemaker?