Authenticity. It’s a word we hear a lot of lately. It’s not a bad thing. I believe it’s a response from the pressure sensed by so many that they must have it all together before they can be accepted by the church. Too often the message of Christ twisted into legalism pushing many away and causing others to wear masks.
The danger comes when we use authenticity as an excuse to tear others down. I could complain about a frustrating experience with a person on social media, but more and more I am learning to filter what I share. I don’t always succeed. Too often my sarcastic thoughts come out or I allow frustrations with those closest to speak instead of building them up. I fail at this every day. There are days when keeping the filter in place takes every bit of energy. My first reaction to shout the frustration or sarcastic comment to the world often wins.
Instead God is teaching me to pour it out to Him first. I don’t always succeed.
Someone once asked if by filtering my words and what I share, especially where others will see, if I was being inauthentic.
Would I be ‘authentic’ by venting about a person or situation in a public setting? Perhaps. But what purpose does it serve other than to tear another person down?
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
Another version says “…so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Grace – a gift, a life-giving gift.
Being authentic in sharing how I struggle with my attitude is vastly different from venting about another person and how I feel they have wronged me. One can help others feel they are not alone when they struggle with the same and also measures my own heart. While the other may give me a feeling of vindication, it truly does nothing but pull another down.
And that feeling of vindication? It lasts only for a brief moment and in the end serves to tear myself down more than anyone.