Steps to Authenticity (TDTCTW 10)

In the previous blog I shared my personal “jihad”, the struggle to be real. I promised to share some steps that have helped me greatly along the way.

1) First, accept by God’s grace that you are significant and valuable in Jesus Christ. Only a person who knows that he or she is valuable would ever dare to examine the darkness within. Human value was defined at the cross. Out of that sense of value comes the drive to be real.

2) Know your true condition. No one can be authentic unless they are willing to face the truth about themselves.

3) Accept the truth about yourself. As you go through the process of self-discovery, accept the results of that process as a true statement of your condition.

4) Take the truth about yourself to God for forgiveness and release. Tell God the truth about yourself no matter how painful that might be. There’s something about bringing the truth about yourself into the open that takes away its power. And since God already knows the truth about you and is committed to receiving you in the light of the cross there is no reason to fear.

5) Seek to continually grow in authenticity. Authenticity is a process not a state. No human being could become totally authentic in a moment. Our nerves could not handle it. So God feeds us the bad news a little bit at a time. And in the courage of our new-found sense of worth, we can face a little bit more each time.

What does all this have to do with my challenge to traditional Christianity in the previous chapter? Simply this. People have used the name of Jesus to slaughter Muslims (Crusades). They have used the name of Jesus to slaughter Christians they didn’t agree with (Inquisition). They have used the name of Jesus to enslave and marginalize Christians of a different skin color (slavery, apartheid). Somehow taking the name of Jesus did not prevent Christians from slaughtering other tribes in Rwanda and other denominations in Yugoslavia, or offering support to Hitler.

Traditional Christianity has too often been a massive exercise in corporate denial. Those taking the name of Jesus have too often been blind to the darkness within. If Jesus is to be the answer in today’s world a lot of people are going to have to find a way to look past Christianity and most Christians if they are to have any hope of finding Him. What a tragedy if some of the very institutions that uplift the name of Jesus should turn out to be the essence of what the Bible calls AntiChrist!

From September 11 on the world has cried out for healing. And there is hope for that healing in Jesus. But business as usual is no longer appropriate in the hallways of faith. I invite people of all faiths to proclaim jihad, not on people we disagree with, not on other faiths, but on ourselves, on our own willingness to tolerate pride, arrogance and self-deception. Any other spiritual quest will fall short of the healing this world so desperately needs. It is only by conquering the terrorist within that we can have any hoping of putting an end to the terrorism without. True authenticity is worth a holy war!