16 October, 2015

Attractive Authenticity*

We frequently look down on Jesus's friend Martha. She's maligned as the not-so-spiritual sister to Mary. But have you ever thought of her as open and authentic?
I think my friendship with this lady at college had a
big part to play in developing my passion
for authenticity.

On two occasions we see her blurting stuff out to Jesus:
John 11:21
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. (NLT)

Luke 10:40
But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” (NLT)
But her faith was not weak, quite the contrary:
John 11: 25-27 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” (NLT)
This is authenticity before Jesus, but what about before our fellow flawed human beings?

I found this in a post I wrote in March last year: 

"I've been reading Looking for God by Nancy Ortberg. It's another compellingly honest book. I could quote many passages, but here is one that's close to my heart:
The greatest apologetic, the best defense or evidence of our faith, is the way we live authentically with God. Authenticity implies honesty, struggles, questions, desert times, shaking fists, and hopeful silences. I can only model what I'm experiencing. Anything else is either behaviour modification or "faking it" – neither of which is transformational.
We have this mistaken idea that living the Christian life is a series of mountaintops, a succession of grand faith adventures."

If you know me personally or have been hanging around here at "on the edge", you'll know that authenticity is something I value highly and try to practise in my writing and living.

It's gotten me in trouble, though. While preparing this post I found another post about authenticity and pain (here). An authentic life is a fine line to walk, though. Especially when I'm writing about other people such as my family. I've gotten it wrong in the past, but I am somewhat held accountable these days by my son/s reading my blog. 

So why should we go to the trouble of being as authentic as we can? Because I know of nothing else that comes close to touching the hearts of others as authenticity does. Yes, it's risky, but in that risk can come great reward. Because I am not perfect and others need to know that so that they aren't deceived. Basically because to not be authentic is to lie.

Certainly anytime I talk about authenticity I feel the need to add a caution. We don't need to blurt everything to everyone. That is lacking in wisdom and indeed is unattractive and unsafe. The safest place to be authentic is with our heavenly Father who has saved us despite our imperfections. But amidst the circle of influence that God gives us we should seek to be as real as we can. But don't be too cautious, there are people around you who need to know that you struggle.

Seek wisdom in how you live out your life authentically:

Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. (Daniel 12:3, NLT)
Let's be Marthas!  Deep in faith, open, and authentic.

*This is in response to a writing theme prompt for this week on Velvet Ashes' The Grove, an online community of Christian women serving overseas.


Danielle Wheeler said...

I never thought about Martha's authenticity. She wasn't the "silent martyr in the kitchen," and look what she learned (and what we learned) because she openly addressed Jesus with her feelings.

Great thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing and linking up at Velvet Ashes!

Michele Womble said...

So good....Others need to know I'm not perfect so that they can be free to live their not perfect life - that wrestling with the issues and pain in their lives is good - and where we all are. Otherwise our lie is teaching them that they must live a lie as well...

Thanks for these thoughts, Wendy! (I never thought about Martha being authentic, either.)

Wendy said...

Thanks ladies. To be authentic, I have to admit that the insight into Martha came from the speaker at a missionary women's retreat a few years back. Sandi Bradford was her name.

Devi said...

Hi there, I'm stopping by from Velvet Ashes and am a first-timer to your blog. I'm also an Aussie with two boys :) (but I grew up all around the world and became an Aussie as an adult). These are great thoughts, and I think it's been so healthy for me as I've gotten older to know whom I am being authentic wíth and with whom I do not need to share as much. I think I equated not sharing with inauthenticity, and there is a huge difference. Not sharing is just not sharing. Inaunthenticity is portraying something about myself that is not true. I don't need to share with everyone, but I can still be authentic in the process. Thanks for that reminder!

Wendy said...

Welcome Devi. Good point well expressed: not sharing doesn't equal inauthenticity, it is just not sharing. "Inaunthenticity is portraying something about myself that is not true." However sometimes not sharing communicates the wrong message, so we need to be careful with that one. A life-long process of learning, I reckon.