This year on my senior trip, I was able to visit Ellis Island for the first time. It was exciting, but I couldn’t see it very well from where we had parked. However, as we walked down the path to the ferry that would take us to the island, I came across some coin-operated binoculars. It cost me a little, but the binoculars helped me to view the island much better.
Are we too quick to allow others to view our lives through a set of binoculars? When is honest too honest? Are we magnifying parts of our lives that dishonor God in an attempt to relate to others? How does God define genuine?
What’s the problem? We keep it too real.
In today’s world, Christians are constantly pressured to cave in to what society thinks is acceptable. There are bombardments in the areas of dress, music, movies, books, sexuality, gender, marriage, and many more. I myself have seen many of the different ways people have tried to appeal to the culture around them. One of the most common ways is not worldly Christian music, dressing down, or even “fluffy” sermons. It is honesty.
Many Christians understand the need to be genuine. In 1 John 3:18 we are told “. . . let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” Unbelievers and Christians alike are all too aware of the church’s lack of an understanding spirit. Sometimes this is based on biblical truth, but other times it is based on personal prejudice or pride. But in an attempt to address this problem, people have started to corrupt the meaning of honesty.
I’m just like you!
Everyone wants to know that other people are struggling in the same areas as they are. I know I do. It’s how I validate my own sin.
You can only blend if you bend. In our attempts to relate to each other, we have lowered our defenses, and taken a looser stand against sin. Progressive sanctification has been redefined simply to mean, “I can sin freely and without regret because God forgives me and it’s just part of the process of becoming more like Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:19 teaches us that “there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” The word “approved” in this verse is translated as “genuine” in the English Standard Version. Isn’t that funny?
God tells us that we can’t just accept worldly “heresies” because when we let our heresies become our honesty, we lose our genuineness.
Help me! I’m too honest!
Are you compromising the Bible to relate better with others around you? Are you hurting your testimony in an attempt to bring others to Christ? I can’t tell you exactly what you are doing wrong. But I can tell you what I am doing wrong.
What are some of the common ways I have been “too honest”?
- I try to relate to people’s sin struggles by being too understanding toward their sin. What’s the problem? I cannot validate sin. However, I can validate their struggle and help them to overcome sin.
- I behave like the people around me as long as their behavior is not “too bad”. That’s a huge mistake. Sin is sin, and although it is alright to be in the world, I cannot be of it. My light is snuffed out by darkness, and I no longer have any influence on others for God.
- I condone others for their wrong thinking because of their situation. By doing this I am actually hurting them. I have to encourage others to respond in the way God wants them to. It is not wrong to empathize with someone who is hurting. But it is wrong to encourage them to sin, especially since we know that will hurt them in the long run. Christ’s response may not be “easy”, but it will be better for the person.
What are some good steps to take so I can be a genuine, loving, and real Christian?
- Validate struggle, not sin.
- Don’t bend to blend.
- Empathize with wisdom, exhort with truth.
Redeem your reality the right way.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6