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I recently had the privilege of reading a short letter written by a fellow Christian to a person in jail. The letter was so utterly sincere in its expression of love that it almost brought me to tears. If that was my reaction to a letter not even written to me, I can only imagine what impact it had on the one to whom it was written.
There is no force more powerful for goodness and well-being than sincerity. When we are in the presence of sincerity we feel completely safe. It is like being in the protective arms of a parent – gentle and strong at the same time. Such a feeling of safety and security is profoundly healing. Indeed, I like to think that all of the healing miracles of Jesus came about because he so perfectly manifested sincerity in all his actions. When a person is sincere there is no untruth, and it becomes easy to trust such a person. Sometimes this feels like a miracle.
We all understand the immense power of sincerity, in large part because we understand the destructiveness of insincerity. But it is one thing to understand something, and another to experience it. How can we experience sincerity? Where can we find it? How can we nurture sincerity in ourselves and others?
One time-tested way is to allow Christ into your heart. We all live within the context of larger stories. Many of the stories we live in are very unhelpful. The Christian story, however, is deeply helpful, because it is a story of profound sincerity. The love of Christ is offered with no hidden agendas. When you allow Christ into your heart, and choose to live within the context of the Christian story, it feels like being born again.
There is a Biblical passage from the 1st letter of Peter that could support a lifetime of meditations, and with which I conclude:
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. As it is written: “All flesh is like grass, and its glory like the flowers. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord abides forever.” That Word is the good news which has been preached to you.
So put away all malice, all guile, and all insincerity, envy and slander. Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 1:22-2:3