Photo of Steph’s hubby, Dave, one of the most courageous people she knows.
Be Authentic and Real, by Steph Beth Nickel
Genuine. Authentic. Real.
Do these words describe you? Do they describe me?
I admire those who are courageous enough to be real.
“I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” While people may only utter these words on TV courtroom dramas, there’s a lot to be learned from this statement.
I believe being truthful goes hand-in-hand with being authentic and real. When my three were young, I stressed the importance of telling the truth, informing them that lies were the devil’s language. I also said that deliberately leading someone to a false conclusion was the same as lying.
My Heart’s Cry
My heart’s cry is that we, as Christians, would learn to walk as we’re instructed to in Ephesians 4:11-16:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (ESV).
As we see in this passage, “speaking the truth in love” is one of the evidences of spiritual maturity.
Asking for Help
Too often, for whatever reason, we are not open and honest with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We don’t want to burden them with our problems. We don’t want to admit we’re struggling in a certain area. We figure we should be able to work it out—just between God and us. We assume the other person doesn’t really want to know what’s on our heart and mind. We don’t want them to think less of us.
I have found if we’re open and honest, others will feel more at ease opening up to us as well. I believe this goes a long way to bringing us to the unity in the faith the Bible refers to in this and other passages.
Offering a Listening Ear
And what if we must approach someone who is in the wrong—or someone we think may be in the wrong?
Most of us want to do all we can to avoid conflict and may be tempted to put off addressing issues that really shouldn’t be ignored. It’s one thing to speak the truth in love when we’re the ones dealing with issues, but what about when it’s the other person who is struggling. Are we willing to reach out to them, come alongside them, invest the time to see things from their perspective, and then, if appropriate, help them get back on the right track?
When we pray for the wisdom God promises to give if we’ll just ask, we can be genuine, authentic, real, and truthful without unduly burdening others, breaking confidences, or gossiping.
How are you seeking to mature in Christ this day? How are you seeking to be authentic, to be real?
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Steph Beth Nickel
(Picture by Sarah Grace Photography)
Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor. She writes under the pen name Steph Beth Nickel. She co-authored Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Among other places, it is available from Castle Quay Books and Amazon. Steph has been blogging since 2010 and is a regular guest on Kimberley Payne’s site (fitness tips) and Christian Editing Services (writing tips). She will also be writing and recording regularly for the newly-formed Hope Stream Radio. Stephanie is an active member of The Word Guild and InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.
Steph invites you to pop by for a visit on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephbethnickel or https://www.facebook.com/stephbnickel?ref=hl
You can also look her up on Twitter @StephBethNickel; her blog: http://stephseclecticinterests.wordpress.com; or her website (still a work in progress): http://stephbethnickel.com