“The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyles. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” (Brennan Manning)
What I am about to share is totally unfair. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, everything that you do and everything that you say will be a direct reflection on Jesus. There is someone out there right now who is defining God, Jesus and Christianity solely on who you are as a person. In this world of fads, trending topics and influencers, it is very important to remember that your life might be the first Bible that someone will ever read. Who you are might be the first worship service that someone ever attends. And you will be the first sermon someone will ever hear. Who you are means a great deal, especially if who you are is a follower of Jesus.
What I am about to share now is very good news. As a follower of Jesus, knowing what you now know about your life being a direct reflection on Jesus, you aren’t called or expected to be perfect. You are simply called and expected to be real. Being perfect is an impossibility for any human. At least the perfect that is defined by doing everything right, all the time. Being perfect is not your goal. If you do find yourself always striving to be perfect, you are worshiping a false god. The false god of perfection. This very striving for perfection, that you believe God desires for your life, actually then becomes the very thing that makes you imperfect. For none of us are to place any other gods above the one and only true God.
Finally, what I am about to share is totally fair. Being real means that you don’t pretend to be someone that you are not. In other words, being real is the total opposite of being a hypocrite. Being real means that you live your life, fractures, faults, sin-stains and all, right out in front of everyone. You love unashamedly. You live passionately. And you mess up boldly. Yet, when you do mess up, you fess up. You confess the err of your ways, turn around (in other words repent) and go in the opposite direction. New mistakes you will always make, because you overcame your old mistakes. You learn from all your mistakes. You get stronger with each and every single day. You learn about the grace of God, firsthand. You then turn around and extend this very same grace to others. You don’t act one way around your Christian friends and a totally different way around other friends. Being real means that you are you, regardless of where you are and who you are with.
The moral of this story is that the people that you encounter in life don’t care how perfect you are or aren’t. They simply care how real you are or aren’t. Nobody likes a hypocrite, for they can’t be trusted. Real people like real people, even if they totally disagree with your realness. For, if nothing else, they will always be able to trust that you will be you, regardless of who you are with or what you are doing. Being real will not only keep you close to the heart of God, the grace of God and the love of God; it will also keep you close to the people of God. For nobody wants to be friends with a hypocrite, except of course another hypocrite. Yet, how would either of them really truly know?