A few weeks ago, I married a fantastic fellow. As most of you know, one big joy at weddings is that for a brief moment in time all of the people that you care for deeply are gathered together. After the craziness died down, we began sharing with each other the importance of the folks who joined us for this event, and who had formed us spiritually. Turns out our spiritual mentors are extroverted, introverted, gentle, blunt, intellectual, emotional, men, women, rich, poor, serious, silly, liberal and conservative. The main character trait all of these people had in common was that they are really authentic people. They are confident in the person God created them to be, and they seem to understand who they are in Christ—quirks and all.
In The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen pegs authenticity as an key foundation for sharing God’s love. He explains: “When the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian” (99). Being ourselves, it seems, greatly enhances our ability to carry out God’s commission to love God and others.
I believe Paul’s identity in Christ allowed him to share the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that resonated with many who did not yet believe. He wrote that when a person comes to know Christ, that person is a new creation with a call to be “Christ’s ambassador.” Take a look:
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-20)
So, here are my challenges to you this week:
-Take time alone, in silence to think and pray about the person God has truly created you to be. Make a list of some of your main character traits. This is no easy task. (I believe it takes a lifetime to fully discover, but now is a great time to start.)
-Ask yourself: “How can being myself in interactions help me be a more faithful ‘ambassador of Christ’? How might it allow others to listen to the good news of Christ I have to share?”
-Share your faith with one person in the way that feels most authentic to the person you are.
-Rev. Katherine Ebling-Frazier, Pastor of Prayer