Sincerity – I don’t try to trick people
“Our goal is love that comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5
How would you define sincerity? I mean, we all know what it feels like because we have experienced both sincerity and its evil twin sister, insincerity. Curious as to how my kiddos would define it, I posed the question to them. They all answered along the lines of genuine or heart felt. That was a good start, similar to my own thinking, but I felt like that wasn’t the full essence of the word. So I went to my good friend, Webster, to see what he had to say:
honesty of mind or intention, freedom from hypocrisy, disguise, and pretense
BINGO! That’s what I was looking for!
First of all, honesty of mind or intention. What do we know about the opposite of those? Manipulative, self-seeking? Our family has been watching the Netflix series Lost in Space and the character of Dr. Smith quickly gets on the viewer’s nerves. Why? Because she constantly uses false sincerity as a tool of manipulation to serve her own purposes. She acts like she cares but she doesn’t. It’s easily identifiable – even the kids picked up on that.
Secondly, freedom from hypocrisy, disguise, and pretense. In other words, it’s the freedom to be you! When someone approaches and confides in you about a marriage conflict or a parenting concern (for example), do you pretend to have the perfect life or does your sincerity enable you to share your own conflicts in order to encourage someone who is struggling?
CALL TO ACTION
BE ATTENTIVE – Whether with kids or adults, pay attention to what they are saying! This usually means stopping what you are doing so that you can put the focus on them. Be a good listener. I’ve been the mom (more often than I’d like to admit) that nods her head only to wonder “what did they just say?” as the child walked out of the room. If that’s not a convicting reason to be attentive, I don’t know what is! If someone doesn’t feel like you are sincere, why should they bother sharing with you their joys or concerns? This becomes especially important as your kids transition into teenagers. If mom didn’t listen for the first 12 years, why would she start at year 13 or 16?
BE REAL – What type of an imprint do you leave on others? In today’s social media frenzy, it’s tempting to portray our lives as perfect and tidy when in fact they are just as messy as everyone else’s. I’m not suggesting you hang out all of your dirty laundry for the world to see but if you appear too perfect you may miss an opportunity to mentor or minister someone with a real need. This is also super important as kids grow up. Trust me, if there is anyone who can and will pick up on hypocrisy, it’ll be your kids. Go ahead and kick those disguises and pretenses to the curb!
“The one condition for spiritual progress is that we remain sincere and humble.” John Calvin