Then we will no longer be babies. We will not be tossed about like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to fool us. They make plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong path. No! Speaking the truth with love, we will grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head. Ephesians 4:14-15 (NCV)
“Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly.”
Do you want people to trust you and believe what you say? Then build your life on sincerity.
The word “sincerity” comes from the Latin sincerus, meaning “whole, clean, pure, uninjured, unmixed.”
One of the more shocking stories of the Bible is that of the first-century married couple Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). The account reads, they sold a piece of property and brought part of the money and publicly donated it to the early church. However, they implied they were giving 100% of the funds, but in fact they were holding back part.
Their sin was not that they held back part of the money. Their wrongdoing was they were not sincere. They were hypocrites: pretending to be one thing in public when in fact they were something else.
In what is definitely not a “warm fuzzy” part of the Bible, the scripture records they “fell down and died” and “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”
GotQuestions.org explains: “Sincerity is the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy. Sincere people represent themselves honestly, and their verbal expressions are free from double-talk, gossip, flattery, or embellishment. The Bible places a high value on sincerity: “Love must be sincere” (Romans 12:9; cf. 2 Corinthians 6:6). So also must faith be sincere (1 Timothy 1:5).
“Sincerity is damaged by a penchant for people-pleasing and the creation of a public persona to mask a private reality. Social media has become a breeding ground for insincerity, comparison, and playacting. Christians can get caught up in this, too. We may fall into insincerity by becoming an expert in Christian terminology, culture, and activities while being far from God in our hearts (see Matthew 15:8). God is not impressed. Insincere religious practices are a form of pride and detestable to God (Mark 7:6). He will often allow the insincere to suffer public downfalls in order to get their attention. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Insincere pretenders are often exposed when their secret sins are discovered, and this is a blessing, because it is often that exposure that strips them of pretense and allows them to rebuild their lives on sincerity.”
As basketball great John Wooden put it: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
In this new year, how can you build your reputation and get people to trust you? Develop your character based on sincerity.
This is Part 7 of a 13-Part series, based on 13 virtues that Benjamin Franklin sought to incorporate into his daily life, each of which has a scriptural basis. Franklin began this system in 1726, when he was incredibly only 20 years old. He realized that, since each year has 52 weeks, one can repeat this series four times annually. A chart like the one Franklin designed to help one mark one’s progress can be found here.