Authenticity involves open, honest, forthright and genuine communication. An authentic person is not counterfeit and is free from pretense (false show of something), affect action (effort to appear to have a quality not actually possessed) or hypocrisy (false showing of a virtuous character or morals that aren’t really possessed). Authenticity is sincerity (free of deceit, hypocrisy or falseness).
So, in the strict and very literal sense of the word, authenticity does allow for a carte blanche approach to saying what you want, when you want, and how you want.
But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
In the past, I used to say pretty much whatever I thought under the guise of sarcasm and joking. At some point, I implemented an 80/20 rule that allowed me to only say 20% of what I thought. Since I had to filter my words, I became more choosy of them. Plus, I just felt uncomfortable with the way I talked to other people.
Also, and more important than my feelings, Scriptures say to encourage one another. They say to be careful with our words and tell us why doing so is important.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. (Matthew 12:36)
So what does authenticity look like through the filters of love and kindness?
Authenticity guided by love and kindness involves vulnerability and a willingness to risk being hurt. As we bear our honest thoughts to others in love, we risk rejection. We’re no longer trying to control others, and we open ourselves up to the words and thoughts of many who may not apply scripture to authenticity.
Authenticity in what we say includes an availability, which happens through the avenue of Godly conversations and a listening ear. It involve deliberately choosing words that fit the occasion as well as choosing to say nothing when appropriate. In that, authenticity also involves an awareness of what to say and when.
When authenticity revolves around building others up instead of trying to control them with our words, it changes not just what we say but what we want to say. It makes us intentionally filter our words and choose where to allow thoughts to dwell.
Authenticity based on scripture creates an atmosphere of healing and life. Choose the atmosphere you create with you words very carefully.
DISCUSSION: How else do you see authenticity playing out in our words or any other area of life?