intensely trivial

In search of authenticity

This morning at church Todd taught using the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. You want some scary stuff on Halloween? Well, here ya go. “Ananias and Sapphira” is a terrifying story, because God declares this husband and wife guilty of lying, and, basically, he kills them. This isn’t Old Testament times; it’s New Testament. But apparently the lack of authenticity was such a problem that they needed to be taken out of the scene permanently.
It’s not like it was an accidental lie (I guess that would be an oxymoron). They each had a chance to set their story straight when Peter asked them, “Is this really the full price of the property you sold?” And each of them chose to maintain a false front, most likely to appear more spiritual to the other Christians in their community.
So Todd went on to show more of what Jesus and other speakers in the Bible say about hypocrisy, which is basically when you display something externally that isn’t consistent with what you’ve got going on internally. It’s the main criticism non-Christians have about those who call themselves Christians. I agree! Christians are a bunch of hypocrites, and I’m a terrible one myself.
(If this sounds like what Todd said this morning, it is, but I thought it beforehand, too.)
In fact, for the last few months, hypocrisy and its counterpart, authenticity, have been the main issue God is confronting me with about my own life. It’s a real struggle. I’ve worked so hard all my life to manage my image.
I’ve tried to. . .
— censor my language so it can’t possibly offend anyone (even in my private journal!)
— share enough about my sin struggles so people know how contrite I am
— not share too much about my sin struggles because people might think I’m a bad Christian
— keep honest questions and comments out of my conversations in case they make people uncomfortable
— keep from disappointing anyone (if that isn’t an exhausting task, I don’t know what is!)
— dress in a different outfit (the right one) every day of the week so Americans don’t think I’m dirty (or unfashionable — which I am, and it doesn’t bother me too much usually)
— use mediocre words and say mediocre things so people don’t think I’m too smart
— stay quiet because 1) it takes a while to get the right words together and out my mouth, and people would know I hadn’t thought the issue through completely, and 2) if I’m quiet, people can’t disagree with me

Oh, it goes on and on and on.
But you know what? The truth is I don’t have it together. I say and do hurtful things sometimes to my family members and my friends. I am smarter than some people think I am and dumber than other people think I am (I’ve managed this carefully). I can see through other people’s lies and cynicism sometimes, and I want to be brave enough to call them on it. I want to be done worrying about what people think of me, whether they’re intimidated by me or whether they think I’m a mess. I do have some things to say that people might not like to hear, and it’s time to be OK with telling the truth.
There are few things harder for me to trust God with. I hope that you’ll journey with me and help me to do the hard stuff — help me to be the same on the outside as I am on the inside.


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  1. * kristen says:

    Rachel, thanks for this post and for your authenticity. Image-management is something I struggle with, as well. We subscribe to Todd’s podcasts, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to this sermon yet. I think I’ll listen to it now. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

    Posted 7 years, 3 months ago

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