No Masks Allowed

“I left the church because of the hypocrites” is a popular lament these days. The word hypocrites is rooted in the word that means “actor.” Actors are never themselves. They play other people, other characters.

Hypocrisy in the church happens when individuals spout Scripture and its related wisdom without actually living it. When someone recite verses about worry but live in fear, or easily see the sin of others while ignoring their own, they are acting. They are a hypocrite.

I am a hypocrite, with the volatility in an election year, I often keep my opinions to myself when maybe I should speak out. I’m still trying to figure that out. As I build trust relationships with my friends and mentees, I hope to open up more and more as my end goal is authenticity.

While it’s true that everyone needs work, it’s not always easy to see it in ourselves. But Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said to look for the log in our own eye first. Self-examination can be painful but it is a requirement for growth. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is gentle as our short-comings are revealed. Be vigilant to know yourself and truly be transformed—every day, in His presence—not to beat ourselves up but to become more like Him. What a glorious goal!

“Conduct yourself worthy of the gospel” (Ephesians 4:1). That is no small feat, and it’s certainly a high call. Jesus paid a high price for that call and so we could have the power to accomplish it. But He knows we are not perfect. Take comfort in that. And in the comforter Himself–the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who Jesus shared to help us along the journey (John 14:26). Yield to the Holy Spirit and His fruits will grow in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

We are not alone in this battle. Don’t settle for the world’s standard we may have already attained; continue to nurture these fruits. Be honest in the struggle to reflect Jesus. This makes us vulnerable, but it also makes us real.

Our authenticity and vulnerability draws people to us. Millennials and Gen Zers know who’s real and who’s not. Are we willing to live our life for real, as we were designed? Accept yourself. This produces confidence; not self-confidence but confidence in Jesus. He loves us as we are. He has called us into existence for this time and place.

The ones designated for you to mentor will be drawn to you for you. Trust God in that, and don’t be afraid to be yourself.

I am working to let others see my true self and not worry about their criticism. I’m finding my way through a world that has become divisive both in and out of the church. Knowing that I hope you will still walk along side me, even if we disagree. I want to be authentic without compromise.

Authenticity is birthed from honesty. Honesty promotes integrity, integrity drives character, and good character is attractive to others. Scripture supports this ideal (Proverbs 20:6,7). Credible people are trusted people. But people who have learned to play a role other than themselves—to be an actor, to be a hypocrite—will be exposed.

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