Saying “Just being real!” seems to be a license that allows people to say whatever they want whenever they want, regardless of its negative impact on others. It’s a claim to authenticity, and who can say that’s bad?
Authenticity involves open, honest, forthright, and genuine communication. An authentic person is not counterfeit and is free from pretense (i.e., false show of something), affect action (i.e., effort to appear to have a quality not actually possessed), or hypocrisy (i.e., false showing of a virtuous character or morals that aren’t really possessed). Authenticity is sincerity (i.e., free of deceit, hypocrisy or falseness).
So, in the strict sense of the word, authenticity does allow for a carte blanche approach to saying what you want, when you want, and how you want.
Encourage One Another
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
In the past, I said 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 choosier of them. I also just felt uncomfortable with the way I talked to other people.
More important than my feelings, the Bible says 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)
Build Others Up
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.