Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Found God In Authenticity...

I was distracted writing the post before this one because full text of Matthew 6:1-4 had me thinking about authentic Christians:

The World Is Not a Stage: Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure—'playactors' I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
Pray with Simplicity: And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

I stayed away from church for a long time during high school and college - partly because I didn't "feel" God when I was there... and partly because I was so leary of what I called "freaky, religious people." You know the ones - like in the movie, Leap Of Faith, where Steve Martin's preacher-character is knocking people in the heads "healing" them, making a big show of being "saved..." while stealing their money at the same time. Some so-called "religious" people are, in actuality, false... faking their faith on Sundays and then cheating, or lying, or whatever during the rest of the week.

Over the years, I've had my share of false people in my life just as I'm sure you have as well. People who pretend to be good... pretend to be faithful... and in their pious attitude, condemn the rest of us who aren't living up to their standard. It makes me so angry when I know that their Sunday behavior is just a carefully constructed facade created to hide their sins or flaws.... and in their theatrics, they can cause the rest of us to feel unworthy...

So, I am very committed to surrounding myself with "authentic" people. People who don't just raise up their hands or close their eyes during Worship because it "looks good" - but because they are truly feeling, at that moment, moved by the Spirit... People who don't pretend to be sinless or perfect, or better than everyone else. And we have been so lucky to have found so many authentic people within our current church and within our circle of friends.

Now, as I started writing this post, I did a Google search for this phrase "Bible behaving one way on Sundays," I remembered a sermon our Pastor did a short time ago, and he had a quote from the Bible that would have worked very well for this post... if I could have remembered it!

But, my search led me to this article about Christians Behaving Badly by Holly Vicente Robaina. She is discussing the behavior of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) after the passing of the actor, Heath Ledger, and she says this:
Stories such as this one embarrass me.
They make me want to disassociate—Well, I’m not like “those Christians.”
But I’ve started to wonder: Do any of my actions make me seem like them?
Do others ever perceive me as one of “them”?
“Those Christians” make me uncomfortable because
their actions cause me to consider my own.

When I'm writing on this blog, I sometimes feel so "wise..." so filled with knowledge... so eager to impart what I've learned on any who read this. And 15 minutes ago when I started this post, I was smug in the knowledge that I was authentic, myself. But God warns us about pride...
Proverbs 16:18 - First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.

When it comes to authenticity, this is what I know about myself:
  • I am flawed.
  • I am ordinary.
  • I struggle in this Christian walk - to be true to myself AND true to God's Word.
  • I want to inspire others, and I crave affirmation that I'm doing it.
  • I am impatient, and needy, and sometimes prideful.
  • I screw up all the time...

I am honest (sometimes to a fault!).
I am true.
And I am trying... trying hard each day to be a better person, wife, mother, daughter, and friend today than I was yesterday.

You don't have to be a Saint. You don't have to be perfect. You don't even have to "pretend" to be those things... God doesn't view us though "beer-goggles;" he sees us clearly to our very core... In our actions, in our thoughts, in our hearts. He knows whether we are authentic or not.

But PEOPLE are not that gifted - they can only see your actions and hear your words. They make assumptions based on what limited information they receive from you. So I challenge you to speak and behave as an authentic Christian. To be "real" - in your interactions with others - and in your heart. You don't have to pretend to have all of the answers. You don't have to give the illusion that you have it all figured out. But like the Little Engine That Could, you do need to keep chugging along everyday... continuing in your own Christian Walk... learning more and more each day... and showing authentic Christian behavior in your words and deeds... becauses you never know who is watching you and learning from you.

What lessons are you teaching them?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You are so gifted in your writing! I love reading your stories! I posted your blog page address on my blog page and hope that someone else can be touched just as I have been!

Keep it going girl!
Cheryl ;)