In Christian fellowship, people should experience authenticity.
Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It’s genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level sharing.
It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives. They share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer.
Unfortunately, authenticity is the opposite of what you find in some churches. Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, you encounter pretending, role-playing, superficial politeness, and shallow conversation.
People wear masks, keep their guard up, and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of real friendship.
It’s only when we become open about our lives that we experience authentic fellowship. The Bible says, “If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other . . . If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves” (1 John 1:7-8 NCV).
The world thinks intimacy occurs in the dark, but God says it happens in the light. We tend to use darkness to hide our hurts, faults, fears, failures, and flaws. But when we bring these into the light, we’re able to admit who we really are.
Being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection, or being hurt again.
Why would anyone take such a risk?
Because it’s the only way to grow spiritually and become emotionally healthy. The Bible says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” (James 5:16 The Message). That sounds like a risk worth taking.
Talk It Over
Which of these is most difficult for you to do with a friend: share hurts, reveal feelings, confess failures, disclose doubts, admit fears, acknowledge weaknesses, or ask for help and prayer? Why do you think this is so?
Think of a time when you were able to confess a weakness to a friend. How did that affect your relationship?
How can you make yourself available to a friend this week so that they can be open and vulnerable with you?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.