We are in the third week of our sermon series called Connected, a series all about how we can build deeper community. This Sunday we looked at an essential component of real community- authenticity.
Many of us feel pressure to make it seem like we have everything together and that everything is okay all the time, when that is not necessarily reality. We feel pressures to put walls up to hide any pain or struggle we have and plaster smiles on our faces to make everyone believe we are okay when that is not always the case. We pretend, we perfect, and we numb pain away. However, sending false messages about who we are and how everything is going hinders community. As Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles writes, “without truth, authentic community fails.” Ephesians 4:25 encourages us to tell the truth to our neighbors because we are parts of each other in the same body. We cannot be a healthy, functioning body of Christ if we are not honest and authentic with each other.
The truth is that life is messy and complicated, and none of us have everything all together all of the time. It is exhausting trying to make it seem that way. God does not expect us to be perfect, God desires us to be authentic. God simply desires us to be honest with God, others, and ourselves. As Brené Brown writes, “Authenticity is letting ourselves be seen.” An essential element of real community is letting ourselves be seen. We all need a group of people where we can be honest about how life is going and honest about our doubts and growing areas in our faith. The thing about authenticity is that it often breeds more authenticity. When we tell others the truth about ourselves, it often helps them feel open to share their truth with us.
Having a group of people who we can take the mask off with and who can walk with us through the joys and sorrows of life is crucial. We need a community who can walk with us through the journey and encourage us to clothe and renew ourselves in Christ. We are all people called to grow into the likeness of God. A good Christian community helps us understand how we need to change and is committed to that transformation through the grace and power of Jesus Christ.
Questions to Consider or Discuss:
- Listen to the song “Stained Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns. Reflect on what the lyrics speak to you.
- What does authenticity look like to you?
- Who can you be your authentic self with in your life?
- Monday- Ephesians 4:17-31
- Tuesday- John 11:17-37
- Wednesday- Matthew 26:36-46
- Thursday- Psalm 40:1-17
- Friday- Psalm 42:1-11