Being Real Part I
"Surely you [God] desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place."1
I once asked a group what they felt was the Christian's number one problem. One jokester called out, "Apathy, but who cares?" Another said, "I don't know and I don't care." As the old saying goes, "many a true word is spoken in jest."
Yes, I agree that one of our major problems is apathy. According to a journalist who writes for the LA Times newspaper, one reason why vocal radical minorities are winning in areas such as gay marriage, partial birth abortion, etc., is because enough Christians don't care enough to do anything about it. They sit back, do nothing, let it all happen—and when it's too late, cry, "Foul." The fact that in this country (the U.S.), according to a report by Chuck Colson, only 33% of evangelical Christians are registered to vote speaks volumes about our apathy. How soon we forget that "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance!"
However, apathy is just one of our problems. While we all struggle with various problems to one degree or another, my personal belief—either rightly or wrongly—is that our biggest problem is that of denial; that is, being unreal (avoiding the truth about ourselves). We hide our true feelings and motives behind a facade or mask of busyness, intellectualism, performance, success, achievement, religiosity, saccharine sweetness, rationalization, belligerence, control of others, addictive behaviors, superficiality, over-conscientiousness, self-righteousness, aggressiveness, satirical humor, shyness, a negative critical attitude, and any one of a hundred or more other ways—including apathy.
Some of us who say we stand on the Word of God actually hide behind it. Ironically we use God's Truth as a defense to avoid facing the truth about ourselves. Controlling, dictatorial religious leaders do this. They hide their deep insecurities behind a façade of theological rigidity, super-spirituality, and/or authoritarianism—and deny that they are in denial.
Sadly, people living in denial don't recognize what authenticity is and, in fact, are threatened by it. They may withdraw from authentic people. For others, it "rattles the cage" of their phony facade and, when they are in denial, they tend to shout all the louder and get even more belligerent, or become very defensive.
To be continued . . . .
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that the principles found in your Word, the Bible, are for our protection, well-being, and for our personal freedom. Help me to live in harmony with your will and be truthful in my innermost being—truthful to myself, to my closest companions, and above all truthful to you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 51:6 (NIV).