Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Learning Authenticity

posted by Ruth Graham

This morning as I was watching the news the reporter was talking politics…he was discussing different candidates – one in particular that speaks very bluntly and authentically. My ears pick up at that word: “authentically”. The reporter said people in this country were looking for someone who was authentic.

Do you agree with that? Is authenticity important? Can you live authentically in today’s world?

I think we all are looking for people who are genuine, honest, unpretentious…but where do we find them? With our world of hype and spin and downright lying – even from our leaders, maybe I should say especially from our leaders – authentic people are hard to find.

Sadly, even in church we find people who wear masks – projecting authenticity but behind the mask is a life that is hidden because of shame, guilt, fear…

How do I know? I have been there. I know what it is like to walk into church with my Sunday mask on hiding a broken life. One particular Sunday, I walked in and sat in the pew. A friend was sitting behind me and leaned over to ask how I was. I smiled and said, “I’m fine.” The service started and I thought, “You know I just lied to her. I am not fine.” As we left the sanctuary I confessed to her that I had lied and was going through a difficult time.

It is a small thing that speaks to a much bigger issue. Being real. Real with ourselves, with others and with God. It isn’t easy. We fear rejection.

I want, in this blog space, to explore authenticity and transparency. What does it mean? How do we live it out practically? Are there repercussions – what are they? Conversely, what are the repercussions if we are not honest?

I want us to think about it and dialogue about this issue. If a news reporter is saying that people are looking for authenticity in people running for office, then it needs our attention. People are hungry for someone who does not have a hidden agenda and will speak the truth; someone who will be honest but kind and gracious. Is that possible?

Perhaps you know someone that is authentic. Tell me about them. What are their characteristics? Describe them. How have they lived their life? If you believe you are authentic, how have you done it? What is life like for you? Are there pitfalls to avoid?

I want to learn from you.

  • Rena

    I stumbled upon your blogging site, but have long respected, prayed for, and followed your father’s ministry. I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the age of 14 years after watching a film that Moody was instrumental in filming, A Thief in the Night -Left Behind. I did not walk the altar during the Youth Night invitation, but it started a series of serious questions and answers, eventually leading to being shown the plan of God’s salvation and accepting His finished work on the cross. That was 39 years ago and my life has never been the same.
    I made a promise 39 years ago that I wanted to really “know” God. To walk the path less traveled and honestly to see just what He could truly do in my life, totally committed to Him. While I can say that like yourself, I have served in every capacity in the church and have seen so very much, I have always believed that I alone am responsible for my choices and spiritual walk. Isa. 43: 1-3 states that furnances and flood are going to be eminent in our lives, it is just a matter of when and how. Despite my love and knowledge of God’s Word, a successful career, and a higher degree, I found myself struggling, unable to find employment, and after living all my life in a better than middle-classed lifestyle…homeless! At first, I was devesated! How could this happen, no alcohol or drugs ever, no poor financial decisions…HOW GOD?? Some people’s responses were, “Sometimes, bad things happen to good people.” That was no consolation to me at all. I hurt so badly! Of course during this time you also learn how really authentic your real friends are… if you can find any at this time. I was determined despite my fears, sufferings, and humiliation that I would remain faithful to my beliefs and not compromse my standards even though it felt like God had literally ripped my heart out. I tried unsuccessfully to try to re-engage with not as many ministries that I had been accustomed to partnering with, but found that believers share a stigma for the homeless, your ministry is not as effective because there is the fear of homelessness and the misconceeption that there is a history of alcohol, promiscuity, or drug addition that spiralled the loss in the first place. So I sat out the “assemblying of my family in Christ” where I should have been welcomed. At one point, I also got angry when I thought of all the years of service and good stewardship. But God was always near and continues to speak to my heart and life. I love Him even more despite the hardships and
    pain. I’m determined that His Holiness, Grace, Compassion, Mercy, and Character provides the flame-retardant and breathing apparatus both to carry me through heart-wrenching times, while His Faithfulness covers me each day…making me more and more a better reflection of Him, not because of my suffering,(there was a time when I honestly considered walking away from my faith of 39 years) BUT trulybecause I am in love with my Heavenly Father. Situations in my life may not be what I want them to be, but I will never stop trying (part time writer- Examiner) and I believe that the return of Christ is nearer than ever. I want Him to find me walking faithfully. After all, if our hope extends to living in this world only, then we are most miserable as men and women. Authencity, to me, is simply loving God in the best of times or the worst because He truly does actually feel what each one of us goes through.
    May God continue to use your blog site.

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