Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are actors/actresses who can convince you they are the character they are portraying because they have mastered the art of acting. But as soon as they step out of character, who they really are is seen by those who are behind the scenes. Some of these people have track records off set that make them even more respectable, while others have some personal issues that have discounted their character.
Religion is a master at teaching people how to say the right thing, act the right way and make people believe you are doing better than you really are. Some people put on Golden Globe performances when in church, talking to other Christians or even when praying, but not even a Golden Globe performance can fool the God of heaven and earth.
King David was called a man after God's own heart, not because he mastered the act of religion and right living, but because he allowed the authenticity of his heart to be seen by God and others. Listen to something he said in Psalm 22:2-3 (NASB), "O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest. Yet, You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel." David allowed his true feelings to be spoken, so what he believed about God could rise above his circumstances.
When we shut people down by not letting them share what they are really thinking and feeling, there is no way for them to tap the into the well of salvation that gushes with living water. Religion wants to silence your voice, but God wants to hear your voice. Your pain, your struggle, your trial, your authenticity is someone else's victory.
If we are going to reap the harvest, we have to be willing to listen to people's pain so the promise is real to them, not just the right words. This has to start in the church, and from there it will flow to the nations. Authenticity builds trust and when someone trusts you, they will be authentic around you.
Are you an actor or authentic? Others know, but do you?
Lisa Great pastored a church in Malaysia. She is a minister and blogger at Mouthpiece Ministries.
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