One of the most important attributes we can foster is sincerity. It is not something we talk about very much in our world, but it should be something we strive to improve in ourselves. Why?
I think there are two fundamental reasons for being sincere. First, when we are sincere we are authentically expressing ourselves. The amount of work it takes to “put on” a persona for any and every situation is just exhausting. And to me, it just isn’t worth it.
When I worked at a church that had both a contemporary worship service and a traditional worship service, I would often dress for the second service (the traditional one). So, I would wear my coat and tie to the early service. When people asked why, I would answer by saying, “I don’t like doing the costume change.” I would have preferred the more casual clothes, but I just didn’t see the need to get all worked up about it. I was the same person regardless of the clothes. I was going to do my job the same, regardless of the context. My statement was not a judgment on those who did change. It just wasn’t for me, so I didn’t pretend that I liked doing it.
This is one of the keys to sincerity, being comfortable in your own skin without being a jerk! You don’t have to explain yourself to everyone, but you should not be offended either when someone wonders about your reasons. Most of us are not bothered by offering an explanation. We are bothered with feeling belittled or trivialized. But, even then, we have to accept that there will be consequences for the choices we make about how we will live our lives.
The second fundamental reason for being sincere is that it makes it easier for others to know who they are dealing with. When I am sincere, it makes me more consistent. I have, on more than one occasion, been told that people ask me for my opinion because they know I will offer them a straightforward and non-judgmental response. That hasn’t always been easy for me, or for the other person. But, it has made my life easier as I relate to others. And I accept the challenges and consequences of being sincere.
I know that I may say things others don’t like, not because I am trying to be hurtful, but because I want to be helpful. But in helping someone see the situation as rightly as they can, they will learn about some of the flaws in their thinking, or some of the obstacles they will have to overcome. We all want to believe that we can handle anything that happens in life, but sometimes we need someone to tell us hard things. This can’t happen without sincerity, and the fruit of sincerity, consistency.
I don’t want to leave the impression that I am never wrong. I am wrong more often than I care to admit. But, I also make a conscientious choice to get as much information as I can before I open my mouth. This reduces the damage if I am not on target.
In the end, sincerity provides us with the ability to be comfortable with who God is remaking us into and it provides others with knowledge that there is not a “Mr. Hyde” waiting around the corner.
Be sincere. It will worth the effort. And it is the most humble thing you can do.