We’ve all said those two little words when we have actually felt quite the opposite. Most if not all of us have the tendency to present a put-together, perfect picture of ourselves to those around us, but pretending we are fine when we are broken and in need of help is really the antithesis of the Christian life and not helpful for our spiritual growth or the development of genuine relationships.
This is what Andrea Lucado argues in her article for Relevant titled “Stop Pretending to Be So Perfect.”
Lucado compares pretending we are perfectly fine and have it all together when we don’t to suffering from an illness or having a wound, but simply sitting in the hospital’s waiting room, not telling anyone about our bodily injuries and ailments.
We would never do this when at the hospital taking care of our physical health, so why do we think it is good for our spiritual health to gloss over our brokenness and our spiritual needs and simply pretend we have it all together?
Lucado says the solution to all this pretending we are tempted to live in is to develop true honesty: honesty with God, honesty with each other, and honesty in any leadership role we may have.
Firstly, we must be honest with God. God, of course, already knows everything about us--our worries, our struggles, our hopes, our fears--but He still wants us to bring our concerns before Him.
Philippians 4:6 says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Sometimes, we can find ourselves bringing some concerns before God, but keeping others close to our chests, perhaps wary of what God will call us to do or too ashamed of something we have done.
Lucado cites a poignant truth from Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel: “In Sunday worship, as in every dimension of our existence, many of us pretend to believe we are sinners. Consequently, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven.”
God’s loving-kindness and forgiveness are boundless. Being honest with Him opens up the floodgate for us to receive His grace in greater abundance.
Developing honesty and realness in our relationships is also a way to break down the barriers of pretending.
James 5:16 tells Christians, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”
To do this, we have to be real with one another; we have to break down the walls of perfect politeness and what is sometimes socially acceptable, but when we do so, we will find that our relationships have deepened and are enriched.
It is also important when confessing sins to one another, however, to know who “one another” is for you. This doesn’t mean every friend you have. The kind of honesty that is truly beneficial for spiritual growth is tempered with discretion.
When having a real, heart-to-heart talk with someone, Crosswalk.com contributor Lisa TerKeurst in “Pretending I’m Fine, Proving I’m Right,” notes that “The right way is approaching this situation with soul integrity—responding in a way that's not only honest but peacemaking.”
Thirdly, it is important to cultivate honesty in leadership roles God may have put us in. Whether we are writers, speakers, teachers, pastors, or any number of other roles, we must ask God’s Spirit to allow us to be those who lead with humility, with honest sharing of our own struggles, our own faults, our own shortcomings. By acknowledging your own struggles as a leader with Christian faith, you acknowledge that you need Jesus, which encourages those who are looking to your example.
How can you be more honest in your relationship with God, with others, and with those who look up to you?
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: April 13, 2016
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com