How Are You? A Call to Authenticity

“How are you?” It is a question we ask all the time. In fact for many this may be the deepest form of fellowship they get on any given Sunday. Do you really want to know the answer? Are we really prepared for the answers people want to tell us but don’t? That brings up another question, why don’t people give us a straight, honest answer? Is it because we are only supposed to smile at church and look happy no matter what is going on inside our hearts and minds? Some of the best actors in the world are Christians on Sunday morning whose lives have been in chaos for decades but no one ever knew.

Christ didn’t come just for smiley people. The church was not established as an outpost for the happy-go-lucky. While smiling people are still welcome, we need to make sure Christians hear loud and clear that so are the broken, so are the downtrodden, so are the humble and the meek, so are those who haven’t smiled an authentic smile in years. The call comes to all that in order to fulfill the law of Christ we must bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2). In order to do so we must be authentic.

0 Responses to How Are You? A Call to Authenticity

  1. Alan Knox says:

    Matt,

    Great post! I missed the sermon yesterday morning because I asked a couple, “How are you?” When they told me, I spent the next 30-45 minutes serving them and praying with them. Some would say that I missed out… but I think serving and loving on God’s people is more important than whether or not I attend a meeting.

    We should be authentic when people ask us, “How are you?” We should also be authentic (as in, genuinely caring) when we ask people, “How are you?”

    -Alan

  2. childresscofc says:

    Matt,

    Are you saying that most of us dress up on Sunday morning for an hour of deception?

    Yea, I think so too.

  3. Trey Morgan says:

    Sorry … the above was me…

  4. mattdabbs says:

    Alan,

    What a blessing to realize the importance of doing things like that and avoiding a checkbox mentality.

    Trey,

    I know I have before so that makes at least one of us.

    I think people don’t do this because they don’t feel safe doing sharing on a deeper level, they don’t see anyone else doing it, and it takes risk. Other than that there really aren’t any good reasons to keep your feelings to yourself! We need to create more environments where this is more the norm. Small groups are a great start.

  5. Hi Matt

    Good Post … I think one of our biggest challenges is walking authentically … these days I am really drawn to people who are REAL … however messy that may be!

    I blogged on this challenge a while back …
    http://carpentershand.blogspot.com/2007/06/get-real.html

    There is a wonderful quote that relates to being real, from the velveteen rabbit in there as well as a few thoughts from The Message. I would be interested in your thoughts.

    Regards

    Sassiekiwi

  6. chrisclouse says:

    Great thoughts, Matt.

    I was thinking about this very concept this past Sunday as I was walking into the building. Usually my life is pretty routine, no major crises or anything worthy of headline news. Yet, this past Sunday was different. I had just experienced what felt like one of the worse nights of my life as my daughter and I had a major argument which resulted in her telling me she hated me and didn’t need me in her life, and she left.

    There is good news because my daughter and I have patched some things and are working on others, but how would someone have responded had I told them all of my struggles that Sunday morning? I think I would have given some poor soul a heart attack had I opened up and revealed my inner hurts.

    Fortunately, the class we attend, which I currently teach, is studying the book, “It’s Not About Me”. Our lesson this week focused on the idea that our struggles are not about us, but rather about God and his power. I needed the lesson I was teaching. How often is that the case? LOTS!

    We have become so good at hiding our struggles from one another that we are afraid to open up and share. So, as Casting Crowns sang, we become happy plastic people, under shiny plastic steeples, with walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain. We have traded the altar for a stage, our performance is convincing, we know every line by heart.

    And here is the question in that song that hits home with this discussion, Would it set me free, if I dared to let you see, the truth behind the person that you imagine me to be? Would your arms be open, or would you walk away, or would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?

    I agree with you, Matt, it is time that we stop the masquered and start living authentic lives. Thanks for the thoughts.

  7. I like to answer “How are you?” with a big smiling “Terrible! How ’bout yourself?” It is fun. Try it sometime.

  8. sista cala says:

    I have discussed this same topic many times. Some people think I am just too straight about it. I won’t ask someone how they are doing unless I really want to know. Therefore, I do not engage in conversation w/people just to be making conversation. For folks who know me, they recognize who/what is important to me by what I say and to whom.

    When I am passing someone in a hallway and they say, ‘how are you?’ I counter with, ‘do you really want to know?’. This causes a variety of reactions including: a simple yes, a confused look, a non-verbal act of disgust, or no reaction at all as they continue down the hall.

    It should be safe to lower our masks in church. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.

  9. mattdabbs says:

    I think it is fine to follow some standard conventions of how people expect to interact. I wouldn’t avoid it entirely. I just wouldn’t do that all of the time either. You can’t have an in depth conversation with 500 people on Sunday. So I try to have a couple of in-depth conversations and a whole bunch of the ones that let people know – I see you, am glad that you are here, and am proud to be your brother in Christ – without having to talk for more than a few minutes.

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