This Sunday I am feeling glamorous.
I feel tired. Worn thin. I’ve been awake far too long and I feel as though I’ve said that far too many times lately. I’m sore. I’m a bit ragged. I haven’t slept since sometime a couple days ago.
I lay awake this morning at about 4 am pondering whether or not to wait for the alarm to go off to get up and brew a pot of coffee. STRONG coffee. I thought to myself ‘You should wait ’til the alarm goes… wait, you’re an adult! You can make your own choices. If you want coffee, by golly, get up and brew coffee!’ So, that’s what I did. But as I milled about the near silent house my thoughts began to wander incessantly. Well, truthfully they’d been wandering in similar form all night long. Therefore I remained awake all night long.
Oh weary mind! Why rest thee not?
I pondered the evening before. I pondered love. I pondered life, friendship, Christianity, self-righteousness, humility, pride, ego, lust, faith, submission, grace… oh, grace. I pondered what it means to be genuine. Truly genuine.
You know those times when a thought keeps occurring in your life in one way or another or seems to be on everyone’s mind at once. I have felt that lately about ‘realness’ It just seemed as though we’d all been talking about it. I sat down to write on the subject several times and turned away considering the task too lofty. Too big for someone small as I. But I am here now. My heart wont turn away from the subject. Not a long night, a beautiful sunrise, and a few cups of strong coffee later.
To be genuine…. what does it even mean?
Are we called to be genuine??? To be ‘real’?
Well, I know that Matthew 7:5 says
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam from thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
And 1 Corinthians 4:6b & 7 says also
that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
I know there are many many verses on pride in scripture, especially in the proverbs. So we know that we have a call to humility and a tendency towards pride.
Does the kind of genuine I’m talking about go beyond just that? Pride vs. Humility? Into something deeper. A deeper breath of honesty in a person’s soul… both to themselves and to others? Is that the question I’m really asking? Is that the quality I’m really searching for? Something beyond being truthful and humble. Something like a deep drawing well of clear pure ingenuousness? An openness that reveals the open wound, the scar, and the healing? An honesty that embraces someone’s weakness and builds on their strength? Never questioning whether or not they can gain anything in return? Never questioning if they are better, stronger, more devout, or more sincere… because wouldn’t that completely defeat the purpose; the point?
The moment I tell myself… sure, I’m humble or yeah, I’m genuine haven’t I lost it? Haven’t I ruined my witness? Haven’t I become one of the many reasons why so many unbelievers refuse to recognize Christianity as anything other than self-conceit and piety?
So how do I reconcile in my mind being open, loving, and sincere yet protective of my witness, gracious, and bewaring pride? Not airing every piece of dirty laundry but not hiding my bruises.
I tell myself to share whatever is most loving. Whatever lifts someone else up. Even up higher than myself.
I tell myself his mercies are new every morning. I serve a great God.
I am more than the mistakes I’ve made. I am more than the problems I create.
I have been remade.
I have no right to look down on someone else nor they on I. Do we serve the same God? We are both redeemed from sin as vile as the other’s.
I tell myself ‘Remember Grace Always.’
Not mealy mouthed cowardice that passes for grace. No gracious self-sacrifice in the face of degradation, fear, intimidation, ego, bravado. In the face of the opposite of all I long to be. In the face of self-righteousness.
Remember grace, I tell myself, and genuine will find you.