“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ ...” (Philippians 1:9, 10)

Our sincerity is a window that reveals our motives. In this culture, there are few things that irritate any of us more than having a person ‘fake’ sincerity. Why are we offended so much by ‘fake’ sincerity? One significant reason is this: When a person ‘fakes’ his or her sincerity, he or she hides his or her motives.

Successful con-artists are masters at ‘faking’ sincerity. Their primary motive is to scam you and thereby bring you hurt. However, they are effective in making you feel that they care infinitely about your hurt and dilemma. Their real motive is to gain your money or your valuables. They make you think their real motive is compassion. Their ‘fake’ sincerity hides their real motive.

Because we grasp the nature and importance of sincerity, Christians understand the need to be ‘transparent.’ Because we are family in Christ, we want each other to know, “I am trustworthy. I neither seek to hurt you nor use you. Because my sincerity is real, you can see my motive. I do not seek to deceive you, but to encourage you.”

Sincerity requires compassion. One of the reasons for Christians being easy to deceive is found in their compassion. Christians are compassionate because they care about people. Their caring is genuine.

Sincerity within the Christian family can be difficult. Are we all the same? No! While we differ in personalities, we are all in Christ. I do not have to be “ditto marks” of you, and you do not have to be “ditto marks” of me for us to care about each other. Our sincerity with each other always declares, “We may differ, but you never have reason to fear me. I have your back, and I will never stab it!”

If people who refuse to turn to God do not learn good spiritual manners from the Christian family, can they learn good spiritual manners elsewhere? If they cannot see in us a sincerity that is trustworthy and caring, where will they observe it? Never forget that the way you treat others speaks more eloquently about your attitudes and motives than just about how you feel about that person.

Just as Jesus Christ is to us in our weaknesses and flaws, we are to others in Christ in what we regard to be their weaknesses and flaws. Physically, I love my family, flaws and all, and my family loves me, flaws and all. I do not love only those in my family who are just like me, and they do not love me because I am just like them. Is that not the way it is in your family? That is the way it needs to be in God’s family!

"We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things." (1 John 3:19, 20)

David Chadwell
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 21 June 2007

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