Society craves authenticity, as if honest living alongside our fellow humanity is a lost treasure. I remember the first time I realized someone asking me, “How are you?” was nothing more than an acknowledgement of my presence rather than a legitimate inquiry. They don’t really intend for me to answer that. We want open, honest living together because among so many people it doesn’t exist.
To me, the word “authenticity” has a beautiful ring to it, and yet I can’t help but cringe when I hear it in conversation. It’s been overused and cheapened, same as words like unique and awesome. What do words like these even mean anymore?
The word “authentic” basically means genuine. You would think, of all things, at least being genuine would come naturally. The reality of the matter is we lost our authenticity at the fall. Sinful deception and shame, hand in hand, shattered the open and honest beauty of life as God created it. Sin and shame brought into existence hiding, excuses, and mis-representations of ourselves. Today our world is still in bondage to these enemies, and as a result authenticity is not the given we might expect.
Do you want to be authentic? That’s a good thing. God created humanity to live honestly before Him and alongside one another. We ought to strive for authenticity, that genuine honesty in our day-to-day lives around those we come in contact with.
I strongly believe that authenticity matters even, or perhaps especially, in this fallen world. But our society does not seem to attain it. The harder many try, the more distinctly out of reach it becomes for them.
Why? In part, because many people have lost sight of what authenticity even is. To many people authenticity means something along the lines of “being seen for who I am.” Authenticity–that honest living alongside others–has been reduced instead to a striving for being seen by others. People want to be seen: to be seen as individualistic, unique, expressive, valuable, deserving, and the list goes on. In the name of authenticity, people will go great lengths to portray these positive images of themselves. In part this is why we have selfies, and social media. This skewed focus of authenticity also gives people a perceived license to boldly flaunt their sin- and “no one can say anything because this is just the real me.” We need authenticity. But when it comes down to it, we do not need to be more readily seen, but more real and more honest about the truth of who we are.
[more about authenticity in the future. thanks for reading!]