Authenticity. Over the past several years in our culture, authenticity is a concept that has been buried in a closet somewhere. People have gone about their lives for years, hiding their hurts, fears, doubts and confusion, even in the church, a place where people should be free to be open and honest about their struggles. The church itself has become a place where taking off a mask and being real causes the vast majority to frown upon your mistakes - to scorn and to judge.
Maybe this is the reason we so often hear the common phrase, "church-goers are hypocrites." Because here is the sha-bam... everyone struggles with something. Surprised? I didn't think so. It's a simple and obvious concept, but one that is easy to overlook when surrounded by a room full of people who seem to have it all together. There's something called the human condition. It's an innate nature in each of us, and it's one that we battle every. single. day. No one is exempt.
Why have we fallen into this repetitive, daily trap of hiding?
Fear of judgement, fear of being hurt, talked about and rejected. Ironically, fear of being subjected to these things by our fellow human beings, all of whom should understand better than anyone the struggle of sin nature.
See, we live in a society where "fake" has become the norm. Where airbrushed models, selfies and perfect social media facades are something to be admired. The world we've become comfortable with, is a dangerous one. It encourages us to shove our struggles behind closed doors, left to be unfaced and unchallenged. It's a dangerous place to be.
When we don't face our problems, they grow. They fester and spread. So many don't know how to break out of prison, because no one told them how. Or why they would want to.
This is no small issue. And it's highly overlooked.
We need to challenge ourselves as a society to be there for others. The only way to do this, is to first be real with yourself and with God. And then start allowing yourself to be real with others. We are given experiences in life to be better equipped to come alongside people who are struggling with similar situations. Don't let your story be untold.
If you are a church-goer - you are the church. You have the ability to be that Christ-like example - to minister to those that God brings into your life. Don't hold back. Christ didn't hold back from you. Not only did Jesus know the most real and raw version of you; he loved you enough to take your deepest regrets, mistakes and burdens, and to own them for you. Think about that. The most perfect and holy man in all of creation chose to love you, not to scorn you. He didn't just listen and know your problems, He cried with you, and made them His own.
Here is a challenge. It's time to be raw. It's time to be real.