Saturday, January 8, 2011


We seem to have this idea in the church that God wants everyone to be x, y, and z.  Therefore, if you want to fit in at church, you need to be x, y, and z--or at the very least pretend to be.  Hey, maybe if you pretend to be all of those things you might actually be all of those things eventually.

This is the very definition of being inauthentic.  It isn't biblical, either.

Jesus made it very clear that who we are on the outside is a product of who we are on the inside.  This is why He taught us that if we lust in our heart we have committed adultery.  The actual act of adultery is nothing more than the outflowing of the sin in our heart!  Jesus taught of a transformation that begins on the inside.  The outside is the last place you'll see change.

The church expects the exact opposite.  Before you even enter the building, you need to put down your booze and smokes, stop using bad language, and put on a nice shirt.  Once you're inside, you should be affable and gregarious.

God doesn't want you to act as if you care.  He isn't into theatrics.  God wants you to actually care.  Don't waste your effort trying to do what you think you would do if you actually cared--that's completely inauthentic.  Instead, put your effort into trying to actually make yourself care.  If you actually care, even a little bit, genuine response will follow sooner or later.

Paul taught us that every person in the body of Christ (the church) is different and plays a different role.  We can't all be eyeballs.  Somebody has to be an ear.  Somebody has to be hands.  Somebody has to be a sphincter.  God didn't make us all to be bubbly talkative people.  To tell someone that the way they were created is wrong, and they need to reform themselves in the image of another person is a sin, plain and simple.

Be authentic.  That doesn't mean you need to be the same authentic as anyone else, though!  They should be their own authentic self, and you should be your own authentic self.  Pretending to be anything else--regardless of your intentions--is the furthest thing from authenticity.

How can we help others to be more authentic?  Should we pepper them with personal inquiries?  I think not.  The more uncomfortable we make them, the harder it will be for them to let their walls down.  Be authentic.  Be open, and give them the space to be their own authentic self in their own time as they feel comfortable to do so.


  1. "Instead, put your effort into trying to actually make yourself care."

    Love the post, Mike, but I have to disagree here. We can't make ourselves anything. I can try all I want, but I'll never make myself care. The only way is to shoot for intimacy with Christ. As we know him more and more, we will one day realize "Hey, I actually care about...." We can't just muscle through and say "I'm going to start caring." That's performance, not grace.

  2. Tim, you're probably right, but if you're going to put effort into something, you may as well put it into something that you know you should be doing, rather than into something that you suspect you would be doing if you were already doing what you know you should be doing.

    Yes, that sentence does make sense.