We don’t like when people in our lives aren’t “real”, when they sugarcoat their struggles and only show us a glossy façade of their thoughts and feelings. We want to know people, and we want them to know us, and that is a godly desire.
But in our day, real is sometimes defined a bit more narrowly. A person considered “real” is often one who says it like it is, shares openly (even if a little carelessly), and posts edgy memes, snarky quotes, or photos of the mess of life. At least they’re being real.
I appreciate this. Not being particularly great at small talk and being all too familiar with dishes in my sink, I prefer the matte version of life. Don’t waste your gloss on me.
But in our quest for “real,” are we committed to seeking the genuine article or are we stopping short at the feet of cheap imitations? Is there anything more real than our problems, anxieties, messes, crises, and opinions? Is there a realer real that can satisfy our souls?
There is. God revealed through his Word is more real than the rawest, ugliest problem we encounter, more real than ugly cries, meltdowns, and selfies of our face in the morning. God is the realest thing in existence, Reality himself.
Far from being just the church answer, faith in God is the universal, surprisingly wonderful end of the logical quest for authenticity our hearts sent us on in the first place.
In defense of our culture, it’s true that facades are disgusting. Jesus would have none of them, calling the Pharisees with their pasted-on righteousness “white-washed tombs,” putrid graves slapped with paint. Also, societal pressures to hide our hurts and deny emotional needs aren’t healthy, and it’s good that some of that is being corrected these days. The Bible calls us to be humble, open, honest people who don’t pretend we have it all together to impress others. We should be that kind of real with each other.
But better yet, God calls us to speak his even realer words of truth to our own souls and the souls of others. Scripture is never outdated, irrelevant, tone-deaf, or simple but is breathed out by the one true God, and it’s what makes us mature and complete (2 Tim. 3:16). Sharing it is the most loving and genuine thing we can do. Let’s strive to be that kind of real with each other, sharing the unglossy, emotionally vulnerable messes of life, then applying the raw and honest Word of God. This is authentic living at its best.