Have you ever looked high and low, wondering if you’ll ever find the real deal? I have. As long as there are hypocrites, those I speak of here will exist. Pastors who pretend to care. Family who pretends to love you. Christians who pretend to be the holiest people ever. Coworkers who pretend to be on your side, but watch out for that knife they’re preparing to put in your back.
These people are everywhere. Why do they do this? Some think they are impressing God. Others think they are impressing people. Don’t dare tell me how great you are because I’ll assume the opposite! I won’t believe you care until you demonstrate it. Call me skeptical, but I have seen enough of these cases. They actually humor me. I can just about predict every case.
The table in my life turned when I was going through counseling after my marital separation and impending divorce. The counselor stressed authenticity. Just be real! In that process, I began to see how I was pretending to have it all together when I was broken. I lost my family, career, and some idols that needed to be brought down. This prepared me to minister in a different way.
Now I’m a hospice chaplain. People don’t feed me bull like they used to when I was a pastor. I see all kinds of dynamics. I overheard one patient’s family member say, “The GD preacher is here.” I didn’t like that he used God’s name in vain, but at least he wasn’t faking who he is.
Jesus made it clear that fake doesn’t impress Him. In Luke 18, two men went into the temple to pray. One was a religious man (note the word religious) and the other was a tax collector. The religious man arrogantly prayed and bragged about what he did and didn’t do and spared no length of words. The tax collector (who was probably a rather crooked businessman) couldn’t even lift his head. He prayed a simple prayer: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
At the end of the day, God isn’t impressed with fake. You can carry a family Bible, quote tons of Scripture, wear appropriate clothes, and sing hymns by memory in perfect pitch, but I can promise you that God is not sitting on His throne telling the Angels, “Hey! Look at that!” Bottom line: fake is sin! Get real! It will bless the heart of God, and people will respect you more.